London (CNN) — Rupert Murdoch admitted Thursday there had been a “cover-up” of phone hacking at his flagship British tabloid newspaper and apologized for not paying more attention to a scandal that has convulsed his media empire and rocked the British political establishment.

And he said that he had shut down the best-selling News of the World out of “panic” in the face of public fury about the revelation that a murdered teenage girl had been a victim of phone hacking.

Murdoch, who owns the Sun and the Times in London, as well as controlling the Wall Street Journal, New York Post and Fox News, said his News Corp. had been a victim of the cover-up, not the perpetrator.

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