British Report Calls Rupert Murdoch 'Not Fit' to Lead
Phone hacking inquiry says exec showed 'willful blindness'
By Jon Lafayette -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/1/2012 8:55:37 AMNews Corp. Admits Mistakes Responding to Scandal
The British Parliament committee investigating the News Corp. phone hacking scandal has declared that CEO Rupert Murdoch "is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company."
News Corp. shut down its U.K. newspaper News of the World last year amid allegations its staffers had improperly listened to cellphone messages of people in the news, including celebrities and the family of a missing girl.
Claims that similar actions took place at British Sky Broadcasting, run by Murdoch's son James, have also been made. The charges have led James Murdoch to give up his BSkyB post as well as his job in charge of the News Corp. U.K. newspapers and appear to have made it less likely that he will succeed his father at the helm of the media conglomerate in the near future.
News Corp. said in a statement that it is "carefully reviewing the Select Committee's report and will respond shortly." The company added that it "fully acknowledges significant wrongdoing at News of the World and apologizes to everyone whose privacy was invaded."
The new report by Parliament's culture committee concludes that Rupert Murdoch exhibited "willful blindness" about what was happening in his company, according the BBC News which noted that the committee was slit six to four, with minority members branding it as partisan.
The BBC News Channel's chief political correspondent Norman Smith said the report was much more damning than had been anticipated, according to the BBC story. Smith said that the committee's vote to call Murdoch "not a fit person" was "a blow to the very heart of the Murdoch empire. They are questioning his integrity, his honesty."
Both Murdochs testified before the committee.
The phone hacking scandal has led to the departure of several high-ranking News Corp. executives and led to the postponement of plans to acquire the stake in BSkyB it does not already own.
News Corp. has also been sued by many of the phone hacking victims, although some of the cases have already been settled.
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