British Prime Minister David Cameron's former media chief, Andy Coulson, and a former boss of Rupert Murdoch's UK newspapers, Rebekah Brooks, are among eight people to be charged with offences relating to a phone hacking scandal.
Both Coulson and Brooks are ex-editors of the News of the World tabloid which was Britain's best selling newspaper before it closed amid public outrage over the hacking of the phone of a murdered schoolgirl.
The former media boss of Number 10 Downing Street promised a vigorous defence
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDY COULSON, FORMER NEWS OF THE WORLD EDITOR AND FORMER HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR UK PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, SAYING:
"I will fight these allegations when they eventually get to court, but I would like to say one thing today about the Milly Dowler allegations. Anyone who knows me or who's worked with me would know that I wouldn't, or more importantly that I didn't do anything to damage the Milly Dowler investigation. At the News of the World, we worked on behalf of the victims of crime, particularly violent crime. And the idea that I would sit in my office dreaming up schemes to undermine investigations is simply untrue."
Five other former News of the World staff members and a private investigator are also to be charged.
The maximum sentence for these kinds of charges is two years in prison or a fine.
In a bid to protect his company from the fallout of the scandal, News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch recently decided to split the firm in two, separating newspaper and book publishing from TV and film enterprises.
On Friday, the 81-year-old News Corp boss stepped down from several newspaper-related boards.
Joanne Nicholson, Reuters