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Entries in News Corporation (14)

Tuesday
May012012

Murdoch Unfit to Run News Corp., UK Panel Finds

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A scathing report from a British parliamentary committee probing phone hacking and other alleged abuses at News Corp. asserts that CEO Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run an international company.

The report is worrying for Murdoch because the committee used the very words from the British Broadcast Act that are used to determine suitability of ownership of a TV license. Murdoch already controls 40 percent of Sky TV in Britain and had wanted to take over the whole company.

That venture had profit of $1.7 billion in 2011 and now Murdoch may be forced to give it all up.

The committee wouldn’t say whether his son James misled Parliament, but it slammed his disengaged leadership, accusing him of “willful blindness.”

The committee said three News Corp. executives misled them under oath. Among them is Colin Myler, former News of the World editor and now editor of the New York Daily News.

The Murdochs and or their top executives could be called to face accusations of misleading Parliament.

The Tories voted for much of the report’s damning conclusions, but voted against the “fit person” censure. News Corp. may grasp this “partisan” division as evidence that it is about politics, not their behavior.

All of this has implications for Murdoch’s U.S. and worldwide holdings, which includes the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. The FBI is already investigating News Corp for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“It’s a sad thing but he is finished, he is over.  I think now of Mr. Murdoch in the past tense,” conservative media columnist Peter Oborne of The Telegraph told ABC News last week.

News Corp. stock traded at $19.59 a share shortly after the Nasdaq’s open in New York on Tuesday. The stock’s 52-week low is $13.38, and its high is $20.40.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

James Murdoch Steps Down From News International

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Rupert Murdoch’s son, James Murdoch, has stepped down from his position as executive chairman of News International, News Corporation’s U.K. publishing unit that has been rocked by a phone hacking scandal and police investigation.

James Murdoch will focus on expanding News Corp.’s international television businesses, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

In November, James Murdoch resigned as a director of the companies, which publish the British newspapers The Sun and The Times and had relocated to News Corp.’s headquarters in New York.

James Murdoch, who remains in his position as chief operating officer of News Corp., has been under fire from the British parliament for responding too slowly after a phone hacking scandal began to unravel the News of the World.  The British tabloid published its last issue in July 2011 after revelations that it hacked the phone of Milly Dowler in 2002, a murdered teen.

James Murdoch had led News Corp.’s operations in Europe and Asia since 2007 and became chief operating officer in March 2011. Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., had reportedly been grooming his son to become a successor. News International launched its newest newspaper, The Sun, on Sunday.

“We are all grateful for James’ leadership at News International and across Europe and Asia, where he has made lasting contributions to the group’s strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programs,” Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. “He has demonstrated leadership and continues to create great value at Star TV, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, and BSkyB. Now that he has moved to New York, James will continue to assume a variety of essential corporate leadership mandates, with particular focus on important pay-TV businesses and broader international operations.”

News Corp.’s television businesses are reportedly more lucrative arms of the company and include Fox Broadcasting and BSkyB in the U.K.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb112012

Police Arrest Employees from Murdoch's The Sun Newspaper

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Authorities arrested eight people Saturday, including five employees from Rupert Murdoch's The Sun newspaper, in connection to the phone hacking and corruption scandal, according to police and representatives from News Corporation.

Also arrested was a police officer, a member of the armed services and an employee of the Ministry of Defense, as authorities investigate bribery claims of public officials by journalists. Authorities say British police searched the offices of Murdoch's News Corporation Saturday morning for materials relating to suspected payments to police officers and public officials.

According to police, information leading to the arrests was provided by the Management and Standards Committee, a group established by News Corporation to investigate the corruption scandal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec202011

Piers Morgan to Testify in Britain's Phone Hacking Scandal

Dave Hogan/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Piers Morgan will be answering -- not asking -- the questions Tuesday when he testifies in an ethics inquiry over Britain's phone hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch's now defunct News of the World.

The CNN host is scheduled to appear via videolink before the Leveson Inquiry, a judge-led investigation into the ethics and practices of Britain's scandal-tainted press.

Morgan has denied knowledge of phone hacking by his staff when he was editor of two of Murdoch's British tabloids, News of the World and the Daily Mirror.

His appearance has been widely anticipated, even as Morgan has made light of it.

"So heartwarming that everyone in U.K.'s missing me so much they want me to come home," he joked earlier this year amid demands that he return to give testimony.

The inquiry was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron after it was made public that News of the World had illegally eavesdropped on the voice mail messages of celebrities and other public figures.

Actors Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller, Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling and singer Charlotte Church have all spoken before the inquiry about widespread press abuse, while executives and lawyers for Murdoch's News Corp. have defended the tabloid.

Morgan has been under scrutiny since the scandal broke over the summer.  Back in July, British political blogger Paul Staines, who blogs under the name Guido Fawkes, claimed to have discovered a 2009 recording where some interpret Morgan as admitting knowledge of hacking and other unsavory activities by Murdoch journalists.

Morgan asserted that there was "no contradiction" between his 2009 comments to BBC radio host Kirsty Young and his, "unequivocal statements with regard to phone-hacking."

"Millions of people heard these comments when I first made them in 2009 on one of the BBC's longest-running radio shows, and none deduced that I was admitting to, or condoning illegal reporting activity," Morgan said in a statement to ABC News in July.  "Kirsty asked me a fairly lengthy question about how I felt dealing with people operating at the sharp end of investigative journalism.  My answer was not specific to any of the numerous examples she gave, but a general observation about tabloid newspaper reporters and private investigators."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov102011

James Murdoch Testifying About Phone Hacking Scandal Again

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- News Corp. chief operating officer James Murdoch is testifying Thursday in front of a parliamentary select committee in London on a phone hacking scandal that has rocked the company and the family of its leader, Rupert Murdoch.

Shareholders and politicians have called for a shake-up on the News Corp. board, which includes Rupert Murdoch and two of his sons, James Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch.  The family owns 40 percent of the company.

Last month, shareholders re-elected the 13 News Corp. board members at the annual shareholder meeting to the dismay of outspoken shareholders, including Christian Brothers Investment Service (CBIS), which manages about $4 billion for Catholic institutions.

At the meeting, James Murdoch was re-elected with 65 percent of votes received, while Lachlan Murdoch received 66 percent support for re-election.  More than 84 percent of votes were in favor of re-electing Rupert Murdoch.

"I think it was a clear and unmistakable message from shareholders not a part of the Murdoch family in favor of good corporate governance and strong independent leadership," Julie Tanner, assistant director of socially responsible investing at CBIS, told ABC News.

Not counting the 317 million shares of Rupert Murdoch, who presumably voted in favor of his sons, the votes against James and Lachlan Murdoch were 67 percent and 64 percent, respectively, Tanner said.

A spokeswoman for News Corp. declined to comment on whether James Murdoch's position with the company is in danger.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug022011

Murdoch Pie Thrower Sentenced to Six Weeks behind Bars

CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Image(LONDON) --The man who threw a shaving cream pie at NewsCorp leader's Rupert Murdoch during a committee hearing on live television was sentenced to six weeks in jail Tuesday.

Jonathan May-Bowles, 26, was also fined more than $400 for his antics, after admitting to assault and causing harassment, alarm or distress in the July 20 incident at a British parliamentary hearing before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Murdoch was on hand to discuss the phone hacking scandal at his now-shuttered publication The News of the World.

May-Bowles' comedic assault was partially foiled by Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng-Murdoch, who lept to her husband's defense and repeatedly struck the prankster before security whisked him away.

Murdoch reportedly did not support the assault charge handed down on May-Bowles.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul272011

Piers Morgan Defends Phone Hacking Denials

Turner Broadcasting(NEW YORK) -- Former Fleet Street editor and current CNN host Piers Morgan says he in no way has admitted to knowledge of phone hacking by his staff when he was editor of two of Rupert Murdoch's British tabloids.

Morgan was responding to British political blogger Paul Staines who blogs under the name Guido Fawkes and who claimed to have discovered a 2009 recording where some interpret Morgan as admitting knowledge of the hacking and other unsavory activities by Murdoch journalists.

Morgan says "there is no contradiction" between his 2009 comments to BBC radio host Kirsty Young and his "unequivocal statements with regard to phone-hacking."

"Millions of people heard these comments when I first made them in 2009 on one of the BBC's longest-running radio shows, and none deduced that I was admitting to, or condoning illegal reporting activity," Morgan said in a statement Wednesday to ABC News. "Kirsty asked me a fairly lengthy question about how I felt dealing with people operating at the sharp end of investigative journalism. My answer was not specific to any of the numerous examples she gave, but a general observation about tabloid newspaper reporters and private investigators."

Morgan spent last week denying that he was involved in phone hacking while editor of News of the World and the Daily Mirror after a member of Parliament accused him of publishing an article obtained by phone hacking.

"For the record, in my time at the News of the World and the Mirror, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, or published any stories based on the hacking of a phone," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room.

"As I have said before, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone," Morgan concluded in his statement.

In the June 2009 interview, Morgan was asked how he felt about so-called "gutter" journalistic practices, such as digging through trash cans and tapping people's phones to get information and taking secret photographs. "To be honest, let's put that in perspective as well. Not a lot of that went on. A lot of it was done by third parties rather than the staff themselves. That's not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work," he said. "I'm quite happy to be parked in the corner of tabloid beast and to have to sit here defending all these things I used to get up to, and I make no pretence about the stuff we used to do."

"I simply say the net of people doing it was very wide, and certainly encompassed the high and low end of the supposed newspaper market," Morgan told the BBC interviewer.

Morgan, who's also a judge on America's Got Talent, served as editor at News of the World in 1994 and 1995, before helming the Mirror, where he stayed until 2004.

Last week, during a Parliamentary hearing with Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch, whose now closed News of the World is at the center of the scandal, committee member Louise Mensch accused Morgan of publishing an article in 2002 that had been obtained via phone hacking.

Morgan denied the accusation and demanded an apology from Mensch.

He's also fighting off accusations from James Hipwell, a former Daily Mirror financial columnist who called illegal phone hacking "endemic" during Morgan's tenure.

"Piers was extremely hands-on as an editor," Hipwell told British newspaper The Independent Saturday. "I can't say 100 percent that he knew about it. But it was inconceivable he didn't."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul202011

Murdoch Scandal: Parliament Cites 'Catalogue of Failures'

MAX NASH/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A British parliamentary committee on Wednesday heaped scorn on Rupert Murdoch's News International for trying to "deliberately thwart" a probe into phone hacking by the company's journalists and called out the police for failing to thoroughly investigate it.

"There has been a catalog of failures by the Metropolitan Police, and deliberate attempts by News International to thwart the various investigations," said Keith Vaz, the committee's chairman. A Parliament committee heard testimony from Murdoch and his son James on Tuesday regarding the hacking scandal at News of the World that has roiled the company and the country.

The new report singled out former assistant police commissioners John Yates and Andy Hayman for criticism. Yates' 2009 review of the investigation that concluded there was no need to probe further was "very poor" and a "serious misjudgment," according to the report.

Hayman's "cavalier attitude" undermined public confidence in police impartiality, the report stated. Hayman, the report said, made "deliberate prevarication" to mislead the committee about allegations that police took payoffs from reporters.

Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament Wednesday that he would not have hired ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson had he known about the hacking there.

"With hindsight" it was the wrong decision and Cameron said he would offer a "profound apology" if Coulson was found to have lied to him over his involvement.

"You live and learn and believe me I have learnt," the PM said.

Ed Miliband, the opposition Labour leader, told Parliament that there had been a "deliberate attempt to hide the facts." Miliband claimed that Cameron ignored repeated warnings about Coulson's suitability for the job as press spokesman. He called the hiring a "catastrophic error of judgment."

On Tuesday, the apologetic Murdochs went before the committee -- with some fireworks when someone tried to hit Mr. Murdoch in the face with a shaving foam pie.

Many News Corp. analysts seemed to share the opinion that the hearing was not as disastrous as expected and may have even helped the company. News Corp.'s stock rose on Tuesday by 83 cents, or 5.5 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul192011

Rupert Murdoch Hearing Erupts Into Chaos, Wife Lunges

Wendi Murdoch lunges at the man attempting to attack her husband with shaving cream.(LONDON) -- A Parliament hearing into phone hacking by News Corp. journalists erupted into chaos Tuesday as CEO Rupert Murdoch was attacked by a man with what appeared to be a shaving cream pie.

Wendi Deng Murdoch, his wife, rose from her seat behind her husband to protect him and took a swing at the intruder. The man was taken away from the scene and the committee temporarily suspended the hearing.

Before the incident, Murdoch told a British Parliament committee probing phone hacking by his journalists that he isn't responsible for the scandal that has embroiled his media empire.

It is alleged that the tabloid hacked the phones of 4,000 people, from stars to crime victims, to get juicy stories -- all with the encouragement of top editors at the paper and aided by some in the police force.

Members of Parliament and the media reignited the scandal earlier this month after reports the tabloid's journalists hacked the phone of a murdered teen, Milly Dowler. Journalists and a hired private investigator allegedly deleted some voicemail messages in her full mailbox, to hear new ones from concerned family members.

The Murdoch name has been synonymous with News Corp. even before it was incorporated in 1979. Rupert Murdoch, the only son of Sir Keith Murdoch, took over his father's newspaper publishing business, News Limited, after he passed away in 1952.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul192011

Rupert Murdoch: 'People I Trusted' Are Responsible for Hacking Fiasco

Rupert Murdoch is questioned by members of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, July 19, 2011. (ABC News)UPDATE: Tuesday's hearing was temporarily suspended after a man attempted to attack Rupert Murdoch as he spoke before the British Parliament.

(LONDON) -- News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch told a British Parliament committee probing phone hacking by his journalists that he is not responsible for the scandal that has embroiled his media empire.

"Mr. Murdoch do you accept you are ultimately responsible for this whole fiasco?" asked Jim Sheridan, a member of Parliament.

"No," replied Murdoch, explaining that people he hired and trusted and the people who they hired and trusted were responsible. He mentioned Les Hinton, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, who resigned on Friday. Hinton and Murdoch have worked together for 52 years, including while Hinton was chief executive of News International, Murdoch's British newspaper publisher.

"I would trust him with my life," Murdoch said of Hinton.

The committee opened hearings into the phone hacking scandal that has roiled the media, police, and the public in Britain. Murdoch's son, James, began by saying that what happened at the company's now closed News of the World newspaper was not in keeping with the company's standards.

"I have to tell you I sympathize with the frustration of this committee," James Murdoch said. "It's a matter of real regret that the facts could not emerge and could not be gotten to, to my understanding, faster."

Rupert Murdoch's first comment to Parliament was that Tuesday is the "most humble day of my life."

In answer to a number of questions, Rupert Murdoch said he did not recall exact details and paused for moments before responding.

"We have broken our trust with our readers," a grim Rupert Murdoch said.

One member of Parliament, Tom Watson, asked Rupert Murdoch whether Rebekah Brooks or James Murdoch informed him that victims of phone hacking received monetary settlements. Rupert Murdoch said he did not remember precisely, but his son likely informed him. The elder Murdoch also looked to his son when asked who was the lead counsel of his company at one point.

James Murdoch interrupted questioning several times in a careful, measured manner to ask if he could instead answer questions, but Watson said he preferred to ask the elder Murdoch questions regarding corporate governance.

Rupert Murdoch said he is not "hands off" in his management style and works a 10 to 12 hour workday, but he was not aware of all the details of News of the World, which comprises less than 1 percent of his entire company.

"I employ more than 53,000 people around the world," the elder Murdoch said.

Rebekah Brooks is also set to appear before British Parliament on Tuesday about the phone hacking at their tabloid News of the World, which shuttered in the wake of the scandal.

It is alleged that the publication's journalists hacked the phones of 4,000 people, from stars to crime victims, to get juicy stories -- all with the encouragement of top editors at the paper and aided by some in the police force.

The Murdoch name has been synonymous with News Corp. even before it was incorporated in 1979. Rupert Murdoch, the only son of Sir Keith Murdoch, took over his father's newspaper publishing business, News Limited, after the elder Murdoch passed away in 1952.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio