News Corp defends paying US troops for 'Saddam Hussein underpants' pictures
Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has defended the publication of pictures of Saddam Hussein in his underpants in 2005, in the wake of suggestions that the media could face investigation in the US over payments made to obtain them.
The picture was run on the front pages of both The Sun and The New York Post in May 2005, prompting a complaint from President Bush's spokesperson.
"The Tyrant's In His Pants," said the Sun's headline, while the Post opted for "Butcher of Sagdad" against an image of Hussein wearing nothing more than a pair of white Y-fronts.
The Sun's managing editor, Graham Dudman, admitted paying for pictures of Saddam in captivity that were alleged to have come from the US military.
According to the Guardian, News Corp said it stood by its decision to publish, saying efforts to highlight the story and link it to ongoing anti-corruption investigations in the US and the UK were just "a lame attempt to regurgitate old news".
Citing statements made by Dudman at the time, News Corp said the issue was widely reported on at the time.
"We didn't believe then, and certainly don't believe now, that it was wrong to acquire and publish newsworthy photographs of a notorious war criminal," a spokesperson of the firm added.
According to the paper, the media firm could face the court over the publication of the images, as payments to public officials are illegal in the US and the UK.