For those confused by why so much is being made of the NOTW/News Corp phone hacking scandal and still unclear why it is such a watershed event for "free" media, below is the most comprehensive timeline compiled on the topic, courtesy of Bloomberg.
From August 2006 through July 4, the scandal remained
largely confined to the U.K. The News of the World royal
correspondent was jailed, Parliament ordered hearings and
celebrities including Sienna Miller and Jude Law sued.
After July 4 -- when the Guardian newspaper reported that
employees of the now-defunct News of the World hacked into the
voicemail of a kidnapped schoolgirl who was later murdered, --
the crisis escalated. The scandal led to the resignation of two
of London’s top police officers; the arrest of U.K. Prime
Minister David Cameron’s former head of communications; an FBI
investigation and questions about Murdoch’s leadership at New
York-based News Corp., a business he built over six decades.
Here is a timeline of the phone-hacking scandal.
Clive Goodman, News of the World royal editor, is arrested
on suspicion of intercepting Prince Charles’s phone calls and
charged with breaking into phone messages on eight dates from
January and May of 2006. Glenn Mulcaire, a former professional
soccer player who was then head of a consulting firm, faces the
same charges at a hearing in London.
Goodman is sentenced to four months in prison for
conspiring to tap the phones of aides to the British royal
family, after pleading guilty in November. Mulcaire gets six
months on related charges of hacking into the messages of
celebrities including supermodel Elle Macpherson.
Andy Coulson, News of the World editor, resigns hours after
Les Hinton, then chairman of News International, the News
Corp. (NWSA) unit that published the News of the World, answers
questions at a House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport
Committee inquiry. When asked whether he thought that Goodman
was the only one who knew what was going on, Hinton says: “I
believe he was the only person.”
David Cameron, then Conservative Party leader, names
Coulson as the party’s director of communications.
News International pays an undisclosed amount to settle a
case from Mulcaire, who despite never having been on the paper’s
staff is suing for unfair dismissal, having had his contract
terminated when he was jailed.
News International pays an undisclosed amount to Goodman to
settle his unfair dismissal claim. He had been sacked when he
Mark Lewis, a lawyer working for Gordon Taylor, chief
executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, obtains
from the police documents that suggest News of the World
reporters other than Goodman had been aware of successful
interceptions of messages left on Goodman’s phone and those of
two of his associates. Tom Crone, legal manager for the News of
the World, advises Colin Myler, the paper’s new editor, and
James Murdoch that the company should settle. Before the end of
the year, Murdoch approves the payment of 1 million pounds ($1.6
million) to settle with the three plaintiffs, who sign non-
Rebekah Wade, now Brooks, is named chief executive officer
of News International, effective Sept. 1. She is to report to
Murdoch’s son James, CEO of News Corp.’s Europe and Asia unit.
The Guardian reports the payments to Taylor and his
Cameron defends Coulson. “Of course I knew about that
resignation before offering him a job, but I believe you should
give people a second chance,” Cameron says.
Paul Stephenson, Metropolitan Police Commissioner at the
time, starts an investigation of the News of the World and the
Sun, another News Corp. publication. Assistant Commissioner John Yates is assigned to the inquiry.
About eight hours later, Yates tells reporters that “no
additional evidence has come to light” and “no further
investigation is required.”
News International, answering to the Guardian’s report,
says there’s no evidence of a “systemic corporate illegality”
to suppress evidence and it’s untrue that, apart from Goodman,
staff hacked into mobile phones. There’s no evidence that
reporters accessed the voicemails of former Deputy Prime
Minister John Prescott, the company says.
Under questioning before Parliament’s culture committee,
Myler says James Murdoch agreed the payment to Taylor. He and
Crone insist that there is “no evidence” to suggest other
reporters were involved. He cites in support a report by lawyers
Harbottle & Lewis LLP that went through 2,500 company e-mails.
Taylor’s lawyer Lewis tells the committee that lawyers from
News International have threatened to get an injunction to
prevent him from acting against the company for other phone-
News International reaches a settlement with the celebrity
publicist Max Clifford, who also had his phone hacked. Clifford
refuses to comment on suggestions the company paid 1 million
A panel of lawmakers says it is “inconceivable” senior
staff at News of the World weren’t aware of widespread tapping
by its reporters. The cross-party culture committee says
executives from the newspaper suffered “collective amnesia”
during its inquiry. The company replies that the report has
“materially diminished” the reputation of Parliament.
Actress Sienna Miller seeks damages from News of the World
for hacking the voicemail on three of her phones to get personal
Ian Edmondson, news editor at News of the World, is
suspended over phone hacking.
Coulson resigns as press chief of now Prime Minister
Police start new inquiry after News International, under
pressure from a growing weight of lawsuits, hands over a cache
of documents. Assistant Commissioner Yates says there is
“significant new evidence” that offered “promising lines of
Yates says at a parliamentary hearing that he may have met
Neil Wallis, a former News of the World editor he’s known for
“a number of years,” for lunch or dinner in February, the
month after police began the latest inquiry.
Edmondson and Neville Thurlbeck, the tabloid’s chief
reporter, are arrested.
News International says phone-hacking was more widespread
than it had previously acknowledged, and says it will settle
cases with victims.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Prescott and actor Jude Law
sue, following more than 20 actors, politicians and athletes.
Miller agrees to settle her lawsuit for 100,000 pounds
Law’s case is chosen to be one of the first heard. Designer
Kelly Hoppen, sports agent Sky Andrew, soccer commentator Andy
Gray and lawmaker Chris Bryant are also among the so-called test
Prescott, former Metropolitan Police Commander Brian Paddick, lawmaker Chris Bryant and journalist Brendan Montague
win a bid for a review of the initial police investigation of
the phone-hacking probe.
The Guardian reports that a private detective working for
the News of the World hacked into the voicemail of Milly Dowler,
a schoolgirl abducted and murdered in 2002.
Cameron presses News Corp. to respond to the “really
Murdoch says the allegations of phone hacking and police
payments by News of the World are “deplorable and
U.K. police say documents by News International show that
payments might have been made to police officers.
News Corp. decides to close down the News of the World.
Coulson is arrested.
New International CEO Brooks says she had “no knowledge
whatsoever of phone hacking in the case of Milly Dowler and her
family, or in any other case during my tenure,” in a letter to
the chairman of the U.K. Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee of
Murdoch says Brooks has his “total” support.
Murdoch, his son James and Brooks are summoned to be
questioned before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on July
Yates appears before Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee.
Lawmakers laugh at him as he said the decision not to
investigate further, taken after an eight-hour review, had been
News International says legal manager Crone has left the
The FBI begins examining whether News Corp. employees tried
to hack into phones of Sept. 11 victims. Rupert and James
Murdoch say they won’t be able to attend today’s culture
committee hearing. After a formal summons is sent, they change
Wallis, the former News of the World editor, is arrested on
suspicion of conspiring to intercept phone calls. London’s
Metropolitan Police also says that Wallis had worked as a paid
communications consultant for the police in 2009 and 2010.
Hinton, the former News International chairman, resigns
from his positions as chief executive of News Corp.’s Dow Jones
unit and publisher of the Wall Street Journal. Hinton had
started at News Corp. 52 years earlier at the age of 15.
British actor Hugh Grant sues the Metropolitan Police after
he secretly taped Paul McMullan, former News of the World
reporter. McMullan said hacking was committed on an
“industrial-scale” under Coulson, Grant tells the BBC July 6.
Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, resigns.
Yates, the assistant commissioner and Britain’s top anti-
terrorism policeman, resigns.
A man police said they believed to be Sean Hoare, a former
reporter at the News of the World, is found dead at his home.
Hoare was the first person to allege that Coulson encouraged
phone hacking by his staff, the Guardian newspaper reported. His
death is being treated as unexplained and isn’t thought to be