Murdoch 'hits back hard' at 'baseless' new hacking claims

News Corp has gone on the offensive against the BBC over claims one of its subsidiaries used computer hackers to undermine a rival – claiming the Panorama allegations were ‘unfair and baseless accusations”.

Today the company hit back at the claims – with News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch tweeting: ‘Seems every competitor and enemy piling on with lies and libels. So bad, easy to hit back hard, which preparing.”

In a later tweet he added: ‘Enemies many different agendas, but worst old toffs and right wingers who still want last century’s status quo with their monoplies [sic].”

On Monday Panorama claimed former News Corp subsidiary NDS engaged in computer hacking to undermine ONdigital, later rebranded as ITV Digital, which at one time was considered a rival to BSkyB.

Panorama tracked down a computer hacker named Lee Gibling who claimed he was paid up to £60,000 a year by NDS to run a TV piracy website called The House of Ill Compute (THOIC), which allowed thousands of hackers to make their own pirated smartcards that contributed to the collapse of ITV Digital.

A statement released by president and chief operating officer Chase Carey said: ‘The BBC’s Panorama program was a gross misrepresentation of NDS’s role as a high quality and leading provider of technology and services to the pay-TV industry, as are many of the other press accounts that have piled on – if not exaggerated – the BBC’s inaccurate claims.

‘Panorama presented manipulated and mischaracterised emails to produce unfair and baseless accusations. News Corporation is proud to have worked with NDS and to have supported them in their aggressive fight against piracy and copyright infringement.’

In response the BBC said: “We stand by the Panorama investigation. We have received NDS’s correspondence and are aware of News Corp’s rejection of Panorama’s revelations. However, the emails shown in the programme were not manipulated, as NDS claims, and nothing in the correspondence undermines the evidence presented in the programme.”

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