Nightly News | April 16, 2011
>>> the british tabloids are known for being some of the most competitive and at times sensational newspapers in publishing. now the investigative techniques of one of those papers has come under new strut any in a trial that involves the world of media, power and celebrity. nbc's george lewis has our story.
>> reporter: britain's sunday paper "news of the world" sells 3 million copies a week dishing the dirt on celebrities. but now authorities are questioning how the paper got that dirt. those targeted include prince william , his brother prince har harry, actress elle macpherson , actor jude law and hundreds of others. allegations that reporters were accessing voice mail messages by and about them. five years ago when the reporter who covered the royal family and a private investigator working with him were arrested and charged with illegal eavesdropping, the paper said that was the end of it. but it wasn't. this week a former assistant news editor was arrested and earlier this month the paper's chief reporter and another former assistant editor turned themselves in to police.
>> i didn't accept for a moment the press telling me this was a rogue operation.
>> reporter: actor hugh grant did a sting of his own wearing a recording advice as he chatted with former "news of the world" reporter paul mcmullen in a pub about how frequently the papers listened in on celebrity voice mail .
>> reporter: amid questions about why the police didn't pursue the phone hacking investigation harder, rebecca brooks, chief executive of news international, publisher of the paper, told a parliamentary hearing that some cops were getting paid for news tips.
>> we have paid the police for information in the past.
>> reporter: the newspaper has issued an apology and offered to compensate people who can prove their voice mail was hacked. there was no response to our requests for interviews. all of this is a huge headache for rupert murdock , the head of news corporation, owner of "news of the world" and fox tv . murdock's company is seeking government permission to buy a british pay tv network. that deal could be held up as the investigation into the phone hacking scandal moves forward and as the number of lawsuits against the paper just keeps growing. george lewis , nbc news, london.