The U.K. phone hacking scandal is back in the spotlight.
Two former executives of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire have been found guilty of misleading British lawmakers when giving evidence about phone hacking at the now defunct News of the World tabloid.
In a rare but largely symbolic move, former News of the World editor Colin Myler and former legal manager of News International Tom Crone were found to have been in contempt of the House of Commons for making misleading statements.
But the Committee of Privileges, which investigated the issue, said there was not enough evidence to prove that News International — owned by Murdoch’s News Corp ( — as a company had committed contempt. News International has since been renamed News UK. It had no immediate comment on the ruling. )
Crone and Myler now face admonishment by the House of Commons, but the punishment will stop there.
This is the first time parliament has doled out a formal slap on the wrist since 1983.
“We very rarely use these powers at all…. It is quite a serious matter,” a parliamentary spokesperson told CNNMoney.
News of the World staff were accused of illegally eavesdropping on phone messages of murder and terror victims, politicians and celebrities. This led to large payouts to celebrities like Hugh Grant, Jude Law and Sienna Miller.
Public outrage was especially fierce when it came to light that journalists at News of the World hacked into missing teenager Milly Dowler’s voicemail in 2002 and deleted messages, causing her parents to believe she was still alive. The family of the murdered teen was also awarded a payout.
The tabloid was shut down in the wake of the scandal in 2011 and Murdoch admitted in 2012 there had been a “cover-up” of the hacking.
Murdoch’s empire includes Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and HarperCollins.
CNNMoney (London) First published September 14, 2016: 8:12 AM ET