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Murdoch not fit to lead News Corp: British MPs

United Kingdom,Media,Defence/Security, Tue, 01 May 2012 IANS

London, May 1 (IANS) Media mogul Rupert Murdoch was not fit to "exercise the stewardship" of a major international company like News Corp, British MPs have said.


Parliament's culture committee questioned journalists and bosses at the now-closed News of the World, as well as police and lawyers for hacking victims, BBC reported Tuesday.


After initially claiming that malpractice was limited to one "rogue" reporter at the News of the World, its parent organisation News International has now settled dozens of civil cases admitting liability for hacking between 2001 and 2006.


More than 6,000 possible victims have been identified. Police have made a number of arrests in connection with an investigation reopened in January 2011.


The culture committee report concluded that Murdoch exhibited "wilful blindness" to what was going on in News Corporation.


But the committee was split six to four with Tory members refusing to endorse the report and branding it "partisan", BBC said. Tory MPs objected to the line branding Murdoch "not fit".


News Corp said in a statement it was "carefully reviewing" the report.


"The company fully acknowledges significant wrongdoing at News of the World and apologises to everyone whose privacy was invaded," it said.


The committee began its inquiry in July 2011 in the wake of fresh revelations about the extent of hacking at the tabloid. It heard evidence from Murdoch and his son James.


It has now concluded that the notion that a proprietor like Murdoch had "no inkling" that wrongdoing was widespread at the News of the World was "simply not credible".


Murdoch had "excellent powers of recall and grasp of detail when it suited him", it said.


"On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications," it said.


News Corp as a whole was guilty of "huge failings of corporate governance" and, throughout, its instinct had been "to cover up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators", the committee said.


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