UK premier says politicians too close to news media | News | DW | 14.06.2012
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UK premier says politicians too close to news media

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that politicians are too close to members of the media. Speaking at an inquiry into media practices, he also denied making any deals with Murdoch's media empire.

British Prime Minister David Cameron used his testimony at the Leveson Inquiry in London on Thursday to reject the suggestion that his Conservative Party had made secret deals with Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

"The idea of overt deals is nonsense," the prime minister said, after being asked whether his government went easy on Murdoch's News Corp. in exchange for positive media coverage.

"I also don't believe in this theory that there was also a nod and a wink and a covert agreement," Cameron added.

Questions have been raised about how the Conservative government handled a bid by Murdoch to take full control of satellite broadcaster B SKY B, which was abandoned last summer.

During the morning session, the inquiry did not quiz Cameron on his relationships with the former head of the News of the World newspaper, Rebekah Brooks or the former News of the World editor, Andy Coulson. It was expected to do so later in the day.

Brooks is facing three counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in connection with the phone-hacking scandal, which led Robert Murdoch to shut down the News of the World last year. Coulson has been charged with perjury.

More distance needed

What the prime minister did say at the morning session was that British politicians as a whole had allowed themselves to become to close to members of the media.

"It has been too close and I think we need to try and get it on a better footing," Cameron said, adding that there should be "greater transparency, better regulation, having a little more distance" in the future, the prime minister added.

Cameron himself set up the inquiry, led by senior judge Brian Leveson after a public outcry when the news emerged that News of the World staff had hacked into the phone conversations not just of well-known figures, but also a murdered school girl.

Former premiers Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major have already testified at the inquiry, which is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the news media, as well as their relations with politicians.

pfd/slk (AP, Reuters, AFP)