British Parliament: Murdoch Unfit to Lead Company

Posted May 1st, 2012 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Britain's parliament has released a report on the phone-hacking at the News of the World tabloid newspaper, saying owner Rupert Murdoch had shown willful blindness in the scandal and is not fit to run a global media company.

In its report Tuesday, the bipartisan committee also said Murdoch's News Corporation had misled parliament and tried to cover up illegal phone-hacking. It said there had been huge failures in corporate governance, which raised questions about the competence of Rupert's son, James.

News Corporation responded after the release of the report, admitting that the investigation had revealed some “hard truths.” But it also criticized some of the conclusions, calling them “unjustified and highly partisan.”

Members of the panel rejected Murdoch's claims that he was unaware that hacking was widespread at News of the World, and that his staff kept him in the dark.

The 11-member panel was split six to four, with the chairman not voting, and Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party rejected the conclusions in the report.

It is now up to the lower House of Commons to decide on a punishment.

Murdoch shut down News of the World last July after the scandal erupted, and his media empire has agreed to large payouts to 37 phone-hacking victims, including celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

The 81-year-old mogul also owns British newspapers The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun. Senior employees at The Sun have been arrested as part of an inquiry into allegations that the newspaper obtained information by bribing police and other officials.

About 40 people have been arrested due to probes into the illegal news gathering and bribery scandals.