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Former editor says Murdoch sowed seeds of hacking scandal

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Expressing disgust at a fall in journalistic standards that he said Murdoch helped stoke by fostering a culture of trifling scandal, Evans said reporters needed principles to prevent them getting too close to the powerful.

"It's a Faustian bargain when you get too intimate with politicians, it serves neither the politicians or the press well for the relationship to get to be one of complicity," Evans, 83, told the inquiry in the High Court.

"What happened in 1981 is entirely relevant to today, it's a manifestation of the same culture of too close a connection between a powerful media group and politicians," Evans said of his experience working as Times editor.

Evans edited the Sunday Times from 1967-1981. He agreed to edit the Times when offered the job by Murdoch but he only lasted a year. He stood down in 1982 in protest against what he saw as Murdoch's interference in editorial policy.

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