The Guardian apologises for false claims against Murdoch tabloid

The U.K's respected newspaper, The Guardian, has apologized to the Murdoch-owned The Sun after it wrongly claimed the tabloid obtained the medical records of former prime minister Gordon Brown's son.

The Guardian had accused The Sun of accessing the Brown family's medical files without their knowledge to find that his four-month-old son Fraser had cystic fibrosis, which it published a story about in November 2006.

The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's scandal-plagued News International, denied the claim, insisting its source had been a member of the public.

It said an unnamed man, whose child also suffered from cystic fibrosis, contacted its journalists with the information in the hope it would raise awareness about the condition, PA reports.

The newspaper said the man had signed a legal affidavit confirming this.

In a statement printed in its corrections and clarification section today, The Guardian said: "Articles in the Guardian of Tuesday 12 July incorrectly reported that the Sun newspaper had obtained information on the medical condition of Gordon Brown's son from his medical records.

"In fact the information came from a different source and the Guardian apologizes for its error."

A spokesman for The Sun criticized The Guardian for running the story and praised its own journalists for bringing its readers "agenda-leading news stories, with legitimate news gathering techniques", PA reports.

Brown had said he was "in tears" after The Sun contacted the family to say they were publishing the story and was at a loss to understand how it had obtained such confidential information, BBC reports.

However, on Friday, The Sun published its version of events, claiming that Brown's wife, Sarah, had given the paper consent to run the story.

"We can reveal the source of our information was a shattered dad whose own son also has the crippling disease and who wanted to highlight the plight of sufferers. And when we approached former Labor leader Brown and his wife Sarah with the story, she gave us their consent to run it," The Sun reported.

The dad who told The Sun Fraser had cystic fibrosis said yesterday he was horrified by false claims that he saw the boy's medical files, The Sun said.

He said: "I have not had access to the medical records of the child at any time.

"All of which is the truth as I shall answer to God."

He said yesterday: "I felt vindicated in contacting The Sun.

The Murdoch media empire is under siege as the U.K phone hacking scandal had led to several investigations around the world and both Rupert Murdoch and his son James have been compelled to appear before the U.K. parliament next week over the allegations.