Jump to content
The Education Forum

Rupert Murdoch and the Corruption of the British Media


Recommended Posts

FBI to investigate News Corporation over 9/11 hacking allegations

Bureau to investigate claims News of the World journalists sought to hack into phone of victims of 9/11, reports say

By Ed Pilkington in New York, Andrew Gumbel and agencies

guardian.co.uk,

Thursday 14 July 2011 23.43 BST

The FBI has opened an investigation into allegations that News of the World journalists tried to hack into the phones of victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York.

The launch of the FBI inquiry amounts to the first official inquiry within the US into News Corporation activities. The move brings the scandal within Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper division closer to his American home and to News Corporation's headquarters in Manhattan.

The announcement of an FBI inquiry followed a mounting chorus from politicians and relatives of 9/11 victims calling for a review of the allegations. Peter King, the Republican chairman of the homeland security committee in the House of Representatives, on Wednesday wrote to the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, and asked him to open an investigation into the 9/11 allegations.

In his letter, King said he represented a district of New York that lost more than 150 constituents in the terror attacks. "If these allegations are proven true, the conduct would merit felony charges, and any person found guilty should receive the harshest sanctions available under law."

The claim that Murdoch journalists attempted to get hold of victims' phone details was made by the Mirror newspaper, which based the story on an unnamed former New York police officer working as a private detective, who was said to have been approached by News of the World reporters asking him to retrieve the private phone records of the dead.

The detective was reported to have declined to take up the commission.

It is unclear at this early stage in the investigation whether there is any substance to the Mirror's allegations. But relatives of 9/11 victims expressed delight and relief that the FBI had stepped in to clear up the issue.

Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son Christian died in the World Trade Centre, said: "I'm very happy. The FBI is being very responsive in acting on our call for a full investigation."

Jim McCaffrey, a New York firefighter who lost his brother-in-law Orio Palmer, also a firefighter, on 9/11, also welcomed the FBI inquiry. "If these claims are found to be true, I think it's a terrible revelation and very, very upsetting to 9/11 family members," he said.

Even if the information contained in the Mirror article could be verified, there might be a problem with moving forward with an investigation because the events were so long ago. Several legal experts, including a former top lawyer for the FBI, said that prosecution under federal wiretapping laws is subject to a five-year statute of limitations.

While the FBI inquiry gets under way, News Corporation also faces the prospect of possible prosecution under other US laws. Several Congress members have called for the company to be held accountable under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal law that punishes firms based in the US that engage in bribery abroad.

It has emerged that News of the World staff paid police officers in the UK in the course of their phone-hacking activities.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 1.1k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Thank's Steve, Wish one was settled on and people were aware of what is actually meant, it makes various reports on a number of things confusing.

--------------------------------

Another great oz ex PM speaks out:

Keating lets fire on media self-regulation

AAP July 15, 2011, 2:56 am

Former prime minister Paul Keating has attacked Australia's Press Council and said the phone hacking scandal in England could have happened here.

In a broadside against media self-regulation Mr Keating also said it was "beyond doubt" that News Ltd papers in Australia were out to destroy the Gillard government.

Asked on ABC TV about the News of the World phone hacking scandal Mr Keating said people who had their privacy invaded should have a right of action.

"One thing for sure comes out of this and that is self-regulation by the media is a joke," Mr Keating said.

"People shouldn't have a right to appeal about invasions of their privacy to some body funded by newspapers, they should have a right at law," he said.

The News of the World was closed by owner Rupert Murdoch amid growing revelations about the activities by some staff came to light.

There was evidence that the paper had generated stories by hacking mobile phone messages of celebrities, families of dead war veterans, and even a missing 13-year-old girl.

"It could have happened in Australia," Mr Keating said.

He also said it was clear News Ltd papers were at war with the Gillard government, although he was not certain whether such a directive would have come from Mr Murdoch.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper had called for an early election because its editors felt such a move would see the government defeated, Mr Keating said.

"Ministers are saying News Ltd is after regime change, and I think how can you read it any other way?" he said.

He said a bid by Sky News, which is partly owned by Mr Murdoch, to win the rights to broadcast Australia's overseas news network could be hampered by the phone hacking scandal in England.

"If there were important findings about these matters in England it must materially affect things here," Mr Keating said.

edit typo

Edited by John Dolva
Link to comment
Share on other sites

An interesting new development in the case. Yesterday the police arrested ex-News of the World executive Neil Wallis in the phone-hacking case. It emerged last night that Wallis was paid £1,000 a day by the Metropolitan police and advised Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met commissioner, and assistant commissioner John Yates during a period when the Yard rejected calls for the reopening of a criminal investigation into the interception of voicemails.

Neil Wallis, deputy editor of the paper under Andy Coulson when it was alleged to have been engaged in mass acts of phone hacking, was employed him as a part-time adviser on "strategic communications".

Before the news came out, Stephenson had defended himself in front of the Metropolitan police authority over his dining with News International executives, including Wallis. Stephenson omitted to mention Wallis's employment with the Met, angering MPA members.

The Met said Wallis was employed from October 2009 to September 2010 on a part-time basis. During this time the Yard was saying there was no need to reopen the phone-hacking investigation, a decision made by Yates in July 2009 despite allegations in the Guardian that the first police investigation had been inadequate.

One senior Met insider told the Guardian: "The commissioner thought if the prime minister is happy employing Andy Coulson, and Neil Wallis has bid the lowest price, what reason would we have not to employ him?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the calls for an investigation into media ownership in Australia should be supported. On a personal level, I am very disturbed that a News Corp controlled company could be responsible for Australian overseas broadcasting. I may not always agree with the ABC, but I think they are to be trusted to be the national broadcaster.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank's Steve, Wish one was settled on and people were aware of what is actually meant, it makes various reports on a number of things confusing.

--------------------------------

Another great oz ex PM speaks out:

Keating lets fire on media self-regulation

AAP July 15, 2011, 2:56 am

Former prime minister Paul Keating has attacked Australia's Press Council and said the phone hacking scandal in England could have happened here.

In a broadside against media self-regulation Mr Keating also said it was "beyond doubt" that News Ltd papers in Australia were out to destroy the Gillard government.

Asked on ABC TV about the News of the World phone hacking scandal Mr Keating said people who had their privacy invaded should have a right of action.

"One thing for sure comes out of this and that is self-regulation by the media is a joke," Mr Keating said.

"People shouldn't have a right to appeal about invasions of their privacy to some body funded by newspapers, they should have a right at law," he said.

The News of the World was closed by owner Rupert Murdoch amid growing revelations about the activities by some staff came to light.

There was evidence that the paper had generated stories by hacking mobile phone messages of celebrities, families of dead war veterans, and even a missing 13-year-old girl.

"It could have happened in Australia," Mr Keating said.

He also said it was clear News Ltd papers were at war with the Gillard government, although he was not certain whether such a directive would have come from Mr Murdoch.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper had called for an early election because its editors felt such a move would see the government defeated, Mr Keating said.

"Ministers are saying News Ltd is after regime change, and I think how can you read it any other way?" he said.

He said a bid by Sky News, which is partly owned by Mr Murdoch, to win the rights to broadcast Australia's overseas news network could be hampered by the phone hacking scandal in England.

"If there were important findings about these matters in England it must materially affect things here," Mr Keating said.

edit typo

isn't Murdoch's stake in Sky News at least 35% already?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rebekah Brooks FINALLY quits over phone-hacking scandal as Murdoch's daughter 'accuses her of f****** the company'

• David Cameron says her resignation was the right decision

• Second biggest shareholder said last night that 'she must go'

• MP Chris Bryant says she should have gone sooner

• James Murdoch to come under the spotlight after Brooks departure

• News International will apologise in ALL national newspapers this weekend

• Brooks to be replaced by Sky Italia chief exec, Tom Mockridge

By Richard Hartley-parkinson

Daily Mail

Last updated at 4:19 PM on 15th July 2011

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2015067/Rebekah-Brooks-resigns-head-News-International-refuses-apologise.html#

Rebekah Brooks has finally resigned as chief executive of News International a day after it was alleged that Elisabeth Murdoch said Brooks had 'f***** the company'.

The decision to step down came amid deafening calls for her to quit by the likes of David Cameron, Ed Miliband and senior figures within News Corporation.

In an internal email to staff she announced she was standing down saying: 'I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt.

'I now need to concentrate on correcting the distortions and rebutting the allegations about my record as a journalist.'

News Corp announced that the 43-year-old is to be replaced by Tom Mockridge, 55, chief executive of Sky Italia.

Pressure was mounting on her to quit after Rupert Murdoch's daughter's comments which came at the same time that the second biggest shareholder at News Corp declared that she 'must go'.

Scroll down to read Rebekah Brooks's statement in full

Furious: Elisabeth Murdoch, left, launched a scathing attack on Rebekah Brook's handling of the phone hacking crisis in which she said the former editor had 'f***** the company'

Former friends: In 2008 Rebekah Brooks and Elisabeth Murdoch remained friends, pictured here at a lunch for women in business at 10 Downing Street

Rupert Murdoch set off for work today with his son, Lachlan, moments after news broke that Brooks had quit

CALLS FOR HEAD OF PCC TO QUIT

Lord Myners today said that Baroness Buscombe should stand down as chairman of the Press Complaints Commission.

He called on her to quit as head of the industry's self-regulator after the body failed to fully investigate phone hacking allegations at the News of the World.

Speaking in a House of Lords debate on News Corporation's role in the British media landscape, he said: 'It's quite clear the PCC needs a completely fresh start with a new vigour and intention which is clearly not there.'

Lord Myners spoke out after Conservative peer Baroness Buscombe, who has led the PCC since April 2009, briefly appeared in the chamber during today's debate.

He said: 'I was going to say I was sad Baroness Buscombe was not in her place. She then appeared and she has now again departed.

'I think she might follow that same chain of events in terms of her chairmanship of the PCC.'

The Labour peer said he 'felt' for Baroness Buscombe as she was grilled during a television interview, but added: 'It was quite clear the PCC has become an apologist for the newspaper industry rather than a vibrant and independent body performing the role we would expect.

'I am afraid Baroness Buscombe must fall on her sword if the PCC is to be given a fresh start.'

Miss Murdoch, 42, is understood to be 'furious' that her father's media empire has been thrown into the spotlight over the last fortnight.

Had Brooks resigned last week, there is speculation that the News of the World could have been saved and media commentators suggested that the paper was sacrificed for her.

Miss Murdoch 'railed' against the former News of the World editor and made her scathing remarks to friends, it was alleged by the Daily Telegraph.

The rhetoric of Miss Murdoch's comments shows just how their friendship has dissolved over the years.

In 2001 the pair were photographed on Miss Murdoch's hen night during which the group of friends was being followed in their white stretch-limo by a Ford Mondeo.

Brooks, then Rebekah Wade and editor of the News of the World, called the picture desk and, using the car's number plate, was able to identify the paparazzo driver.

She called him, identified herself and said that unless he stopped following them she'd see to it that no Murdoch publication would do business with him again.

The Mondeo immediately performed a U-turn and disappeared.

In a debate in the House of Lords today, Lord Prescott ridiculed Brooks's claim that her 'desire to remain on the bridge had made me a focal point of the debate.

'I was a seafarer of 10 years, I wouldn't have liked her on the bridge if she didn't know what was going on or where she was going and what direction, and that is why she has gone,' he said.

Elisabeth Murdoch, far left, invited Brooks, third from left and then editor of NotW, to join her on her hen night

He added: 'All these others are small bit players, it's Mr Murdoch (senior), he is the spy in the middle of this net and if we don't deal with him he will just come back to the same old practices.'

Seafarer: John Prescott ridiculed the notion that Brooks had a 'desire to remain on the bridge' during the crisis

A close aide of Lord Prescott suggested that what he was trying to say was 'spider in the middle of this web'.

The Murdochs have presented a united front in public but behind closed doors there were growing ructions, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Murdoch, 80, was pictured smiling as he left a restaurant in central London with his arm round Brooks following an hour-long meeting at his luxury flat last weekend.

When asked what his top priority was, Murdoch gestured at Brooks and said: 'This one'.

Saudi Prince Al-waleed bin Talal, who holds seven per cent shares in News Corp, made his position clear that she should leave. 'For sure she has to go,' he told BBC's Newsnight 'you bet she has to go.'

Speaking on his luxury yacht, the billionaire - known as the 'Arab Warren Buffet'- added: 'We hope that as this things unfolds the truth will come out.'

'It's very important to me and my company who have been investors in News Corp for 20 years to get this in order because ethics to me are very important' he said.

Asked about hacking into Milly Dowler's phone, Alsaud said he wanted to differentiate between the News of the World and News Corporation as a whole.

'I think we have to wait for the commission that's been appointed by the Prime Minister and look at the results,' he added in response to allegations that James Murdoch had known about illegal activity.

When asked about alleged hacking of Milly Dowler's phone, Prince Waleed Alsaud, left, said he wanted to differentiate between the News of the World and News Corporation as a whole

Alsaud, who could lose hundreds of millions if News Corporation's stock market value crashes even more, said that the scandal should not be 'over-criticised'.

Rupert Murdoch launched an astonishing defence of News International's handling of the crisis saying that the company had only made 'minor mistakes'.

He could have prevented the phone-hacking scandal by taking editorial control over his newspapers, the House of Lords was told today.

Lord Fowler told the House of Commons today that if Murdoch had more editorial control the scandal may not have arisen

Former Conservative Party chairman Lord Fowler said the News Corp boss disagreed with celebrity coverage in the Sun and News of the World, which ultimately led to journalists hacking into voicemails.

Opening a debate on News International's position in the UK media landscape today, Lord Fowler recalled the Lords communications committee interviewing Mr Murdoch in New York four years ago.

Lord Fowler said: 'He did not exercise daily editorial control. He said if he had, there wouldn't be the degree of celebrity 'gunge' there was in his tabloids.

'He added that he didn't understand the interest in Big Brother contestants and, by implication, their private lives.

'That, he said, was up to his editors. I think today he might be rather regretting that hands-off approach as his empire shows signs of cracking.

'What has brought it low has been the preoccupation with private lives and private tragedies and the totally unacceptable means one of his newspapers, the News of the World, used to avoid the law.'

Today's debate was delayed by five minutes because few peers were in the chamber ready to start after earlier business finished ahead of schedule.

Lord Prescott, a leading critic of Mr Murdoch's regime, was giving an interview to Sky News and arrived late for the start of proceedings.

The under-pressure tycoon dismissed Gordon Brown's claims that the Murdoch empire was 'part of a criminal underworld' as 'lies'.

A worker leaves News International's headquarters in Wapping earlier today

Rupert Murdoch accepted Rebekah Brooks' resignation today. He has twice previously turned down her offer to quit

HOW THE PHONE HACKING SCANDAL UNFOLDED

July 4: Claims emerge that Milly Dowler's phone was hacked

July 5: Brooks says she is 'appalled and shocked' at allegations. Ford pulls out of NotW

July 6: London bombings families warned they may have been hacked. Brooks gets Murdoch's backing.

July 7: James Murdoch announces closure of NotW as Scotland Yard identifies 4,000 potential victims

July 8: Andy Coulson, Clive Goodman and unnamed man, 63 arrested. Cameron urges Brooks to quit.

July 10: Last edition of NotW. Murdoch lands to take control of crisis.

July 11: It is revealed that protection officers were paid £1,000 for contact numbers of senior royals.

July 12: Labour and Lib Dems call for Muroch to drop BSkyB bid. MPs accuse Met Police officers of incompetence.

July 13: News Corp withdraws BSkyB bid.

July 14: Rupert and James Murdoch agree to give evidence to MPs. Ex-editor Neil Wallis is arrested.

July 15: Brooks quits as chief executive of News International

In his first interview since the hacking crisis exploded, Murdoch caused further insult to hacking victims as he shrugged off the scandal saying he was 'tired' and will 'get over it'.

In the Wall Street Journal he said the claims of breaking the law on an industrial scale were 'nothing that will not be recovered' adding that he has a reputation for 'good works'.

David Cameron's spokesman today said that the Prime Minister believes her resignation was the 'right decision'.

A spokesman for the Deputy Prime Minister said: 'This is the right thing for Rebekah Brooks to have done. It is an important first step in cleaning up this mess.

'People will, rightly, expect Mrs Brooks to come to the Select Committee next week to give evidence.

'People still need answers. She owes it to the victims of phone hacking and the country at large to explain her role in what happened.'

Yesterday Neil Wallis, a former executive editor at News of the World, was arrested and later bailed over phone hacking allegations.

His alleged involvement in the crisis is a further embarrassment for Scotland Yard as it turned out the 60-year-old was paid £1,000-a-day as a consultant between October 2009 and September 2010.

As a result head of the Yard, Sir Paul Stephenson, also faces being dragged before MPs to explain himself and his relationship with Wallis.

Commissioner of the Met Police Sir Paul Stephenson, left, did not inform the Prime Minister that Neil Wallis had been employed by Scotland Yard between October 2009 and September 2010

Brooks will appear before the Home Affairs Select committee next week to answer questions from MPs led by chairman Keith Vaz..

WHO IS TOM MOCKRIDGE?

A key lieutenant of Rupert Murdoch, the 55-year-old New Zealander was chief executive of Sky Italy since its creation in April 2003.

He moved to Australia in 1980 where he worked for the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper then between 1984 and 1991, he was a member of Australian Finance Minister Paul Keating's staff.

In 1991, he joined News Corp in Sydney as assistant to Ken Cowley, chief executive of Australian subsidiary News Ltd.

In 1997, he became chief executive of Foxtel, a pay-TV company that News Corp owned through a joint venture with Australian telecommunications company Telstra.

In 2001, he was appointed managing director of Independent Newspapers Ltd, the largest publisher of newspapers and magazines from New Zealand headed by News Corp.

He was also president of Sky New Zealand, the pay-TV group in the country.

In 2002, Mockridge led the merger between Stream and Telepiu, which brought about Sky Italy.

In 2010, a war between Sky Italia and Mediaset, Italy's largest private broadcaster, erupted when Mockridge called for the removal of 2003 legislation preventing Sky from entering the terrestrial television market.

The European Union ruled in July 2010 in Sky's favour, a position upheld by Italy's top administrative court last February.

British pay-TV broadcaster BSkyB appointed Mockridge as a non-executive director in 2009. and he had been promoted to the additional role of chief executive of European television for News Corp in 2008.

Earlier today he said he was surprised she had resigned despite the fact that she has twice before offered her resignation to Rupert and James Murdoch.

He also said it was important that News International continued to cooperate with the investigation into phone hacking in the wake of her resignation

'We must make sure that the resignation does not mean that there is not that continued cooperation,' he told Sky News. 'We need to still get to the bottom of matters.'

Upon hearing the news that she had resigned, Mark Lewis, the lawyer of Milly Dowler's family, said: 'She should have resigned when Andy Coulson resigned.'

He added: 'News International, News of the World, had ruined people's lives.

'In a sense it is the chicken coming home to roost. It is time. Every dog has its day and Rebekah Brooks, I suppose, is that dog.'

A spokesman for the Hacked Off Campaign, which is lobbying for a full investigation into phone hacking, welcomed Mrs Brooks's resignation but said it was more important for the full truth about the scandal to be uncovered.

He said: 'The Hacked Off Campaign's main focus is on getting an inquiry with the right scope, powers and timescale to get to the truth, but all the victims we have spoken to have told us that they cannot see how Rebekah Brooks could remain in her job, given what has so far been revealed.

'The key issue is not, however, whether Rebekah Brooks is in work, but whether she lied to Parliament, told the full truth to the police or was engaged in a massive cover-up. That is what the victims want to know.'

James Murdoch issued a statement after her resignation saying: 'I understand her decision and I want to thank her for her 22 years of service to the Company.

'She has been one of the outstanding editors of her generation and she can be proud of many accomplishments as an executive.'

Mr Murdoch announced that apologies will appear in all national newspaper this weekend over phone hacking.

Replacement: Tom Mockridge will take over as chief executive of News International

James Murdoch today said that the company had made mistakes and would be apologising in all national newspapers this weekend

REBEKAH BROOKS' RESIGNATION LETTER IN FULL

Rebekah Brooks, pictured in 2001 while editor of News of the World, admitted that News International is leading the news for the wrong reasons

At News International we pride ourselves on setting the news agenda for the right reasons.

Today we are leading the news for the wrong ones.

The reputation of the company we love so much, as well as the press freedoms we value so highly, are all at risk.

As Chief Executive of the company, I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place.

I have believed that the right and responsible action has been to lead us through the heat of the crisis. However my desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate.

This is now detracting attention from all our honest endeavours to fix the problems of the past.

Therefore I have given Rupert and James Murdoch my resignation. While it has been a subject of discussion, this time my resignation has been accepted.

Rupert’s wisdom, kindness and incisive advice has guided me throughout my career and James is an inspirational leader who has shown me great loyalty and friendship.

I would like to thank them both for their support.

I have worked here for 22 years and I know it to be part of the finest media company in the world.

News International is full of talented, professional and honourable people. I am proud to have been part of the team and lucky to know so many brilliant journalists and media executives.

I leave with the happiest of memories and an abundance of friends.

As you can imagine recent times have been tough. I now need to concentrate on correcting the distortions and rebutting the allegations about my record as a journalist, an editor and executive.

My resignation makes it possible for me to have the freedom and the time to give my full cooperation to all the current and future inquiries, the police investigations and the CMS appearance.

I am so grateful for all the messages of support. I have nothing but overwhelming respect for you and our millions of readers.

I wish every one of you all the best.

Rebekah

Mr Murdoch also said that the company will try to rebuild bridges with advertisers, announcing that News Corp would be 'sending letters to our commercial partners with an update on the actions we are taking'.

GUARDIAN APOLOGISES OVER GORDON BROWN STORY

The Guardian newspaper today apologised for reporting that the Sun newspaper had obtained information about Gordon Brown's son from medical records.

The newspaper printed a single paragraph apology on page 36.

'In fact the information came from a different source and the Guardian apologises for its error,' it said.

Its apology came after a front page story on Tuesday claiming that the Sun discovered that Fraser Brown had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis by accessing medical records in 2006, when Brown was chancellor.

Brown was 'in tears' when he found out the Sun was going to run the story about his child, he told the BBC in an interview on Tuesday.

The Sun denied any wrongdoing and said the information came from a member of the public whose son also suffers from cystic fibrosis, who wanted to raise awareness of the condition.

The newspaper said the unidentified man has signed an affidavit to confirm he was the source of the story.

He added: 'Next week, my father and I will appear before the (Culture Media and Sport) Select Committee and will speak to them directly about our determination to put things right.

'The Company has made mistakes. It is not only receiving appropriate scrutiny, but is also responding to unfair attacks by setting the record straight.

'I would like to conclude by saying thank you. Throughout this time, you have gotten out great papers every day and have stayed focused. I am deeply grateful for that.'

Murdoch's leadership is now likely to come under close scrutiny as the spotlight shifts onto him instead of Brooks.

Labour MP Tom Watson, member of the Culture, Media and Sports Committee said he had 'questions to answer' about why he authorised payments to hacking victims.

'The focus of attention will be on him and his corporate leadership of the company,' he told the BBC.

Mr Watson, who has campaigned on phone hacking for the last two years, said he expected the Murdochs and Mrs Brooks to give a series of 'non-answers' when they appeared before the committee next Tuesday.

'None of this pleases me, it is a deeply unpleasant scandal,' he added.

Mr Watson also urged Prime Minister David Cameron to 'co-operate fully' with the FBI investigation if it turned out 9/11 victims had been hacked.

Labour frontbencher Chris Bryant, who has been a leading critic over the phone-hacking scandal, said Mrs Brooks should have left before.

MP Tom Watson said that the spotlight is likely to shift onto James Murdoch now that Brooks has gone

'I think it is right that she goes. I think she should have gone a very long time ago,' he told Sky News. 'Frankly, she should have gone when she said she had paid police officers for information back in 2003.'

He added: 'I thought it was disgraceful when the newspaper last week was closed as a way of trying to protect Rebekah Brooks and then Mr Murdoch saying that she was his priority.

'It felt like those in the boiler room were carrying the can for those who were really at the helm of the ship.'

Ed Miliband said on hearing the news: 'It is right that Rebekah Brooks has resigned. No one should exercise power without responsibility.

'It's right Rebekah Brooks has finally taken responsibility and resigned. Mr Murdoch still hasn't apologised to the victims of phone hacking.'

Chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee John Whittingdale said he believed her resignation had been 'inevitable'.

'I think this is the right decision. I think many people expected it to come rather sooner, but I think her position was extremely difficult,' he told Sky News.

'I think the most shocking revelation of all, perhaps, was the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone, which took place when she [Mrs Brooks] was the editor of the paper and there has obviously been a stream of revelations since then.

'This was inevitable and it is the right thing.'

JAMES MURDOCH'S STATEMENT IN FULL

James Murdoch arrived at News International HQ this morning as Rebekah Brooks announced she was standing down

I am writing to update you on the actions we have been taking as a company to solve the problems at News International relating to the News of the World, in addition to continuing to co-operate fully and actively with the police and settling civil claims.

Earlier today, Rebekah Brooks resigned from her position as CEO. I understand her decision and I want to thank her for her 22 years of service to the company. She has been one of the outstanding editors of her generation and she can be proud of many accomplishments as an executive. We support her as she takes this step to clear her name.

We have created an independent management and standards committee and I want to emphasise its importance. The committee has direct governance and oversight from News Corporation board members and is codifying standards that will be clear and enforced.

We made the difficult and necessary decision to close the News of the World.

A number of other executives have now left the company.

News Corporation also withdrew its proposal to acquire the shares in BSkyB it does not own. This is a strong signal that our top priority in the UK is to address the issues facing News International.

Looking to the future, I am also pleased to tell you that Tom Mockridge will become CEO of News International. Tom is in London today and will start right away. Tom is a highly respected and accomplished media executive who has served as CEO of Sky Italia since its launch in 2003.

Tom, who has also been in charge of our European television business, started his career as a newspaper journalist in New Zealand and he has held a range of top roles in the newspaper industry. The creation of TG-24, Italy's only truly independent 24 hours news channel, is a credit to Tom's leadership and integrity.

This weekend, News International will run advertisements in all national newspapers. We will apologise to the nation for what has happened. We will follow this up in the future with communications about the actions we have taken to address the wrongdoing that occurred.

We are also sending letters to our commercial partners with an update on the actions we are taking.

Next week, my father and I will appear before the CMS [culture, media and sport] select committee and will speak to them directly about our determination to put things right.

The company has made mistakes. It is not only receiving appropriate scrutiny, but is also responding to unfair attacks by setting the record straight.

I would like to conclude by saying thank you. Throughout this time, you have gotten out great papers every day and have stayed focused. I am deeply grateful for that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rebekah Brooks Resigns From Murdoch’s British Subsidiary

The New York Times

By JOHN F. BURNS and ALAN COWELL

July 15, 2011

LONDON — After days of mounting pressure from politicians and investors, Rebekah Brooks, the embattled chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper operations, announced her resignation on Friday in another stunning blow to Mr. Murdoch’s once all-powerful empire, now under investigation in Britain and the United States.

Her resignation came a day after Mr. Murdoch, the chairman of News Corporation, and his son James reversed themselves and said they would testify next week before a parliamentary panel probing the cascading scandal over phone hacking that has forced the closure of The News of the World tabloid and the collapse of a $12 billion bid to assume full control of Britain’s biggest satellite broadcaster.

Until the scandal erupted, Ms. Brooks, 43, had been a star within News International, the British newspaper subsidiary of Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation, editing two influential tabloids and rising rapidly to head the division. British analysts described her as enjoying the status of a favored daughter, with close ties not only to the Murdoch family but also to leading politicians.

But her resignation had seemed ever more likely as police arrested some of her former colleagues, politicians on the benches of Parliament demanded her resignation, the price of stock in Murdoch holdings faltered and investors voiced concern. Late Thursday, BBC television broadcast an interview with Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, identified as News Corporation’s second biggest shareholder, in which he said that if Ms. Brooks was involved in wrongdoing “for sure she has to go.”

Ms. Brooks, who has denied that she knew of the phone hacking while she was editor of The News of the World, said in an e-mail to her staff, “My desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate. This is now detracting attention from all our honest endeavors to fix the problems of the past. Therefore I have given Rupert and James Murdoch my resignation. While it has been a subject of discussion, this time my resignation has been accepted.”

She was replaced by Tom Mockridge, the head of Sky Italia, News Corporation’s Italian satellite broadcaster.

Prime Minister David Cameron, once regarded as a personal friend of Ms. Brooks, but who later followed opposition leader Ed Miliband in demanding her resignation, said she had made “the right decision.”

The move came at a sensitive juncture, as the Murdoch family shifts to a more assertive posture to try to limit the damage from what has become its most serious crisis of credibility. James Murdoch said that News International would place advertisements in all British national newspapers over the weekend “to apologize to the nation for what has happened.” British news media on Friday published the text and images of the ad, which is signed by Rupert Murdoch alone and begins in large type: “We are sorry.”

“We regret not acting faster to sort things out,” the ad reads in part. “I realize that simply apologizing is not enough. In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us.”

Rupert and James Murdoch said on Thursday that they would testify next week before a parliamentary panel investigating the scandal, abandoning earlier efforts to avoid or put off appearing before the panel. Mr. Cameron has called for a separate inquiry, to be headed by a senior judge.

On Friday, former staff members at The News of the World questioned why Ms. Brooks had not resigned earlier. “Our paper was sacrificed to save her career, and now she’s gone as well,” one former employee said, requesting anonymity because he did not wish to jeopardize his position in severance negotiations following the newspaper’s closure. “Who knows why they’ve chosen to do it now, as she’ll have to appear before the select committee anyway.”

Others faulted News Corporation for what they called a slow and piecemeal response to the crisis. “This is too little too late,” said Michelle Stanistreet, the head of the National Union of Journalists. “This will be cold comfort to the hundreds of journalists who have lost their jobs at The News of the World.”

With bewildering speed, the pace of the unfolding disclosures has stripped away the Murdoch family’s image as ironclad arbiters of British public life — the people politicians had to go to if they wanted to win elections, as Mr. Cameron did before the 2010 election. Before him, Tony Blair was also seen as eager to keep Mr. Murdoch’s support. Questions about the news-gathering techniques employed by News International had been under largely ineffective scrutiny by the police and Parliament for years, and many outsiders believed that the phone hacking was restricted to the phones of prominent people.

Then, at the beginning of last week, reports emerged that The News of the World had ordered the hacking of voice mail left for Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old girl who had been abducted and murdered. That episode shocked many Britons and triggered other disclosures of hacking into the phones of terrorism victims, possibly including some of those who died in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 in the United States. Ms. Brooks was editor of The New of the World at the time.

The Dowler family lawyer, Mark Lewis, said he was pleased Ms. Brooks had resigned because News International had ruined lives. Mr. Miliband, the leader of the Labour opposition, who take the lead among British politicians demanding Ms. Brooks’ resignation, said on Friday: “It is right that Rebekah Brooks has finally take responsibility for the terrible events that happened on her watch, like the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone.”

“But, as I said when called for her resignation 10 days ago, this is not just about one individual but about the culture of an organization.”

British media analysts, moreover, have begun to ask more loudly what role James Murdoch, News Corporation’s most senior executive in Europe, played in the way the British newspapers were run.

In the United States, meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York has opened a preliminary inquiry into allegations that News Corporation journalists sought to gain access to the phone records of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to several people briefed on the matter.

With the scandal spreading beyond Mr. Murdoch’s British outpost, major investors in the much bigger parent company, News Corporation, began questioning what was going on. In Britain, Mr. Murdoch owns The Times of London, The Sunday Times and the top-selling daily tabloid, The Sun. He also holds a 39 percent interest in British Sky Broadcasting.

His much more lucrative United States holdings include Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

Mr. Murdoch had previously rejected two offers from Ms. Brooks to resign.

In her farewell message, Ms. Brooks said: “At News International we pride ourselves on setting the news agenda for the right reasons. Today we are leading the news for the wrong ones. The reputation of the company we love so much, as well as the press freedoms we value so highly, are all at risk. As chief executive of the company, I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place."

Ms. Brooks said she would focus on “correcting the distortions and rebutting the allegations” and would cooperate with a police inquiry into phone hacking and payments to corrupt police officers.

Since January, nine people have been arrested in that probe, including Andy Coulson, a former close associate of Ms. Brooks and once a senior aide to Prime Minister Cameron. She also praised Mr. Murdoch’s “wisdom, kindness and incisive advice” and his son James’s “great loyalty and friendship.”

“I have worked here for 22 years and I know it to be part of the finest media company in the world,” she said. After she quit, James Murdoch praised her as “one of the outstanding editors of her generation.”

“The company has made mistakes,” he said in a message to News International staff quoted by the Press Association news agency. “It is not only receiving appropriate scrutiny, but is also responding to unfair attacks by setting the record straight.”

Her resignation came a day after Rupert Murdoch made his first extended comments on the matter, phoning a reporter at The Wall Street Journal to defend his company’s handling of the crisis. He said the matter had been handled “extremely well in every way possible,” and rejected claims that his son James had moved too slowly to address concerns about the hacking.

He added that he was eager “to address some of the things that have been said in Parliament, some of which are total lies,” and said reports that the News Corporation was contemplating spinning off its newspapers into a separate entity were “pure rubbish.”

The company’s woes increased on Thursday when yet another former senior editor of The News of the World, now defunct, Neil Wallis, became the ninth person since January to be arrested in the phone-hacking scandal. Mr. Wallis also appears to have unusually close ties to top officers at the Metropolitan Police Service, and worked for them as a public relations consultant last year.

John F. Burns reported from London and Alan Cowell from Paris. Reporting was contributed by Ravi Somaiya from London.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phone hacking: Met police put pressure on Guardian over coverage

Top officers told the Guardian its stories were exaggerated without revealing they had hired former NoW deputy editor

Letter from the Guardian to Dick Fedorcio

By Vikram Dodd, crime correspondent

guardian.co.uk,

Friday 15 July 2011 18.11 BST

Scotland Yard's most senior officers tried to convince the Guardian during two private meetings that its coverage of phone hacking was exaggerated and incorrect without revealing they had hired Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World, as an adviser.

The first meeting in December 2009, which included the Metropolitan police commissioner Paul Stephenson, was two months after Wallis was employed by the Yard as a public relations consultant.

Wallis, 60, who was deputy to Andy Coulson, the NoW editor at the time of the phone hacking, was arrested on Thursday as part of Operation Weeting. Coulson has also been arrested and bailed.

Theresa May, the home secretary, has referred Scotland Yard's hiring of Wallis to the judicial inquiry on phone hacking which will be chaired by Lord Justice Leveson.

During the meetings in December 2009 and February 2010, which also involved the assistant commissioner John Yates and the force's director of public affairs, Dick Fedorcio, the Yard's senior officers said articles written by Nick Davies about phone hacking were incorrect, inaccurate and wrongly implied the force was "party to a conspiracy".

Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian, has written to Fedorcio about failing to mention that the Yard was being advised by Coulson's former deputy.

In the letter Rusbridger wrote: "Paul Stephenson and you came in to meet me and Paul Johnson [deputy editor] in my office on 10 December 2009. Among the things we discussed was the commissioner's strong feeling that Nick Davies's coverage of phone hacking was overegged and incorrect.

"In February 2010 you wrote to me complaining that another Nick Davies story 'once again presents an inaccurate position from our perspective and continues to imply this case has not been handled properly and we are party to a conspiracy' ...

"You suggested a follow-up meeting with Assistant Commissioner John Yates.

"That meeting took place on 19 February. John Yates also tried to persuade us that Nick's doggedness and persistence in pursuing the story was misplaced."

The letter ends with Rusbridger posing five questions to the Met. He asks:

"Why did you not think it appropriate to tell me at the time of these meetings that you, Paul and John were being advised by Coulson's former deputy?

"What advice did he give you about the coverage of phone hacking?

"Was Wallis consulted in advance of these meetings or subsequently informed of the nature or contents of our discussions?

"Why did you think it was appropriate to hire Wallis, given his closeness to events which the Guardian and other media organisations were reporting at the time?

"What conversations – formal or informal – did you, Paul or John have with Wallis about the subject of the NoW and phone hacking during the period he was working?"

In a separate development Fedorcio, who has held his post since 1997, has now been invited to testify before MPs on the home affairs committee on Tuesday.

A Metropolitan police spokesperson said it could not comment on why it did not mention Wallis's employment in the private meetings at the Guardian.

It also said because of the judicial inquiry it would not comment on why it was thought appropriate to hire Wallis, nor could it comment on any formal or informal conversations Stephenson or Yates had with the former Murdoch executive while he worked part-time at the Yard.

The spokesperson denied that Wallis had been consulted about phone hacking or gave any advice about it, in their first on-the-record denial: "He was not involved in any operational activity and that includes giving any advice on phone hacking."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Les Hinton forced out as scandal threatens Rupert Murdoch's empire

Lieutenant resigns as chief executive of Dow Jones in attempt to prevent American interests from being contaminated

By Ed Pilkington in New York and Chris McGreal in Washington

The Guardian,

Saturday 16 July 2011

Les Hinton, one of Rupert Murdoch's closest business associates and head of News International at the height of the News of the World's phone hacking, resigned on Friday as chief executive of Dow Jones in New York in an attempt to prevent Murdoch's American interests being contaminated by the British scandal.

In his resignation letter to Murdoch, Hinton again insisted he had no knowledge of the illegal activities at the News of the World. "That I was ignorant of what apparently happened is irrelevant, and in the circumstances I feel it is proper for me to resign from News Corp and apologise to those hurt by the actions of the News of the World," he said.

Michael Wolff, biographer of Rupert Murdoch and editor of Adweek, said Hinton's resignation took the phone-hacking scandal to another level. "One of Murdoch's central executives in the US has been fired," Wolff said. "This is yet another dramatic move designed to quell the rising tide of opprobrium against News Corporation, but the problem is it is just going to increase the opprobrium."

Hinton's departure takes the phone-hacking scandal out of the confined territory of UK papers and takes it to the core of Murdoch's empire in New York. The Wall Street Journal, which Hinton, as chief executive of Dow Jones, had published, was seen as the pinnacle of Murdoch's lifetime career of media acquisitions.

It is also significant because Hinton, a former journalist on the Sun who has worked for Murdoch for 50 years beginning as a teenage reporter in Australia, was one of the small, tight inner circle of Murdoch loyalists that for decades have been the driving force behind News Corporation's expansion.

The departure of Rebekah Brooks as chief executive of News International earlier on Friday appeared to expose Hinton who was chairman of the UK newspaper arm of Murdoch's empire for 12 years until 2007 when he moved to Dow Jones which is owned by the parent company, News Corporation.

Hinton has been accused of giving misleading information to parliament on two occasions, in 2007 and 2009, by saying there was no evidence of widespread malpractice within the company.

It was Hinton who handled the aftermath of the arrest of the News of the World's former royal editor Clive Goodman in 2006, by claiming that the phone hacking was limited to a single reporter and no executives were aware of it.

With the spotlight on Brooks, Hinton managed to stay on the sidelines of the crisis. He made no comments and had not been seen in public since the hacking of Milly Dowler's voicemail was revealed. "Hinton's strategy has been to keep his head down," Wolff said shortly before the resignation announcement. "But he can't do that for much longer. This is a classic domino effect."

With Brooks gone, there were bound to be deeper questions about Hinton's role, which threatened to embarrass Dow Jones and News Corporation at a time when US shareholders, politicians and pressure groups are asking whether former executives in the British arm of Murdoch's company brought unethical practices across the Atlantic. Hinton's name in particular was mentioned more frequently.

Hinton was particularly susceptible to scrutiny because of his disputed testimony to parliament, which is likely to be revisited at the hearings on Tuesday at which Rupert Murdoch, his son James, and Brooks are expected to testify. In his resignation letter, Hinton rejected claims he had misled parliament.

"When I left News International in December 2007, I believed that the rotten element at the News of the World had been eliminated; that important lessons had been learned; and that journalistic integrity was restored," he said. "My testimonies before the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee were given honestly. When I appeared before the Committee in March 2007, I expressed the belief that Clive Goodman had acted alone, but made clear our investigation was continuing.

"In September 2009, I told the Committee there had never been any evidence delivered to me that suggested the conduct had spread beyond one journalist. If others had evidence that wrongdoing went further, I was not told about it."

Claire Enders, a media analyst in London, said questions were bound to be asked about Hinton's role: "How the culture emerged at News of the World while he was head of News International, and what if anything he knew about the 2007 report into its activities, will emerge."

So far parliament has given no indication that it wishes to recall Hinton to explain his earlier comments, but MPs have expressed their dissatisfaction with his appearances before them.

Hinton's departure appears to be a move to protect Murdoch's larger business interests in the US from being drawn further into the News of the World scandal. News Corp is under scrutiny, with the FBI launching an investigation into whether victims of the 9/11 attacks might have been targeted by phone-hacking allegedly carried out at the request of News Corp journalists .

Members of Congress from both major parties have warned of "severe" consequences if a report in the Daily Mirror – that the News of the World attempted to access the voicemails of victims of the al-Qaeda attacks or other Americans – is true.

Six members of Congress, from both parties, have called for official inquiries into whether the illegal practices displayed by News of the World in the UK were ever repeated by News Corp's print or other businesses within the US.

They include senators who wrote to the US attorney general, Eric Holder, also asking whether Murdoch's company broke anti-bribery legislation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The senators referred to bribes by News of the World reporters to London police officers.

"The reported allegations against News Corp are very serious, indicate a pattern of illegal activity and involve thousands of potential victims. It is important to ensure that no United States laws were broken and no US citizens were victimised," the senators wrote.

Murdoch said Hinton's resignation was "a matter of much sadness". He said: "Let me emphasise one point: News Corporation is not Rupert Murdoch. It is the collective creativity and effort of many thousands of people around the world, and few individuals have given more to this company than Les Hinton

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Revealed: Cameron's 26 meetings in 15 months with Murdoch chiefs

The Independent

By Oliver Wright and Nigel Morris

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The scale of private links between David Cameron and News International was exposed for the first time last night, with the Prime Minister shown to have met Rupert Murdoch's executives on no fewer than 26 occasions in just over a year since he entered Downing Street.

Rebekah Brooks, who was forced to resign yesterday as chief executive of Mr Murdoch's Wapping titles over the escalating phone-hacking scandal, is the only person Mr Cameron has invited twice to Chequers, a privilege not extended even to the most senior members of his Cabinet.

James Murdoch, News Corp's chairman in Europe and the man responsible for pushing through the BSkyB bid, was a guest at the Prime Minister's official country residence eight months ago. And the former NOTW editor Andy Coulson – who was arrested this week on suspicion of bribing police officers and of phone hacking – was invited by Mr Cameron to spend a private weekend at Chequers as recently as March.

No 10 last night bowed to pressure over Mr Cameron's handling of the phone-hacking scandal and released details of all his contacts with senior staff at the company since he became Prime Minister.

Mr Cameron has held more than twice the number of meetings with Murdoch executives as he has with any other media organisation. There were two "social" meetings between Mr Cameron and Ms Brooks, one of which was also attended by James Murdoch, and in return they invited the Prime Minister to a succession of parties.

Mr Cameron and Ms Brooks, who are near neighbours in West Oxfordshire, met over the Christmas period – including a get-together on Boxing Day – just days after Vince Cable was relieved of responsibility for deciding the fate of News Corp's BSkyB bid. Downing Street has always refused to discuss what they talked about, although officials insist that the subject of the BSkyB takeover was never raised.

Also interesting is the revelation that while James Murdoch met Mr Cameron twice over the period, on both occasions he avoided the spotlight of Downing Street. That was not a qualm shared by his father, who was invited to visit Mr Cameron at Downing Street days after the general election.

The list does not include telephone conversations between Mr Cameron and editors and executives. Such a log could be potentially even more revealing as it could be compared with key decisions being made by the Government over the BSkyB deal and other major policy initiatives.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister, when asked about the Chequers hospitality extended to phone-hacking suspect Andy Coulson, said: "The invitation was to thank him for all his work – it was in the capacity of a friend. He is a friend, he remains a friend."

Downing Street insisted last night that the release of the documents signalled their intent to introduce transparency in the dealings between senior politicians and the media.

But the Labour MP Paul Farrelly, who will on Tuesday question the Murdochs as part of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, said the meetings demonstrated the unhealthy ties with the Murdoch organisation.

"David Cameron had a whirl of social engagements over Christmas with figures from News International while his Government was considering the takoever bid for BSkyB."

"Questions have rightly been raised about the common purpose between Conservative media policy and Rupert Murdoch's commercial agenda."

The document reveals that since May 2011 Mr Cameron had 15 private meetings with News International executives and editors.

In addition he attended three parties held by News International in the past 14 months and attended five events organised by the company. In contrast he met with executives from Associated Newspapers which owns the Daily Mail only four times, Guardian Newspapers twice, and The Independent and Standard three times. One of those meetings was with the proprietor of The Independent Evgeny Lebedev.

After News International, the most meetings took place with the Telegraph group who met Mr Cameron seven times since May.

Nick Clegg also released a list of his meetings with newspaper proprietors and editors last night. It showed he had met with Mr Lebedev four times since last May. At News International, Mr Clegg met Ms Brooks twice and Mr Murdoch once. The Labour Party said that the list showed a "huge error of judgement" by David Cameron.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree, Evan. To get a fuller understanding of this issue one must look as far back as 1964 and likely further back and that means Australia. Pilgers article(s) are a valuable resource as are the books (and others) that I mentioned earlier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

isn't Murdoch's stake in Sky News at least 35% already?

39%. Still a controlling interest, but he wanted the full 100%. Seems he's pulled out of that now, with all the mounting criticisms on him, his companies, and the people employed therein.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

isn't Murdoch's stake in Sky News at least 35% already?

39%. Still a controlling interest, but he wanted the full 100%. Seems he's pulled out of that now, with all the mounting criticisms on him, his companies, and the people employed therein.

The rumour is that Richard Branston will try to buy BSkyB.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

isn't Murdoch's stake in Sky News at least 35% already?

39%. Still a controlling interest, but he wanted the full 100%. Seems he's pulled out of that now, with all the mounting criticisms on him, his companies, and the people employed therein.

The rumour is that Richard Branston will try to buy BSkyB.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vote James Murdoch out, Lord Myners tells BSkyB shareholders

Phone hacking fallout continues as former City minister urges end to 'hereditary principle' that keeps Murdochs at helm

By Juliette Garside

guardian.co.uk,

Saturday 16 July 2011 14.19 BST

The former treasury minister Lord Myners has urged BSkyB shareholders to oust James Murdoch as its chairman amid growing questions about his survival prospects as News Corp's heir apparent.

Myners said the company's next annual general meeting was an opportunity to end the notion that one of the largest media companies in the world could still be run like a dynasty.

In the strongest sign yet that the battle to weaken the Murdoch family's grip on British media is bound for the Sky boardroom, the former Marks & Spencer and Guardian Media Group chairman said shareholders should end the "hereditary principle" that allows the Murdochs to control BSkyB.

Speaking in the Lords on Friday, Myners said: "All directors of BSkyB should stand for re-election at the AGM this summer, including Mr James Murdoch. The board should seek to persuade Mr Murdoch that it is no longer appropriate for him to chair this company. There are sufficient doubts about his business judgment."

James Murdoch has been non-executive chairman of BSkyB since 2007, when he was promoted from Sky chief executive to run News Corporation's European operations.

Corporate governance rules issued in 2010 demand that all directors of the largest UK companies stand for re-election every year. Sky's annual meeting will take place before Christmas.

Myners questioned James Murdoch's business sense, noting the tens of millions invested in MySpace, which was sold at a loss earlier this year; the loss incurred by buying a stake in ITV; and the damages News International paid to Max Clifford and others, which could constitute a breach of US laws.

The City grandee called on the investment and pension funds that voted against Murdoch's re-election at last year's annual meeting to do the same this year. They included Aviva, Baillie Gifford, Legal & General and Co-operative Asset Management.

"There is an opportunity here for the great investment institutions of Edinburgh, London and New York to show that they have had enough with the way that the Murdochs dominate BSkyB and they should ensure that the company has an independent board of directors and a truly independent chairman," Myners said.

Sky usually holds its annual meeting in October or November and a spokesman has confirmed it will take place before the end of the year. He said no decision had been taken on who would stand for re-election. "The board has a strong governance framework and will consider the AGM resolutions in due course."

The UK Corporate Governance Code, updated in 2010, demands that the directors of the 350 largest listed companies in the UK be re-elected annually. If companies choose to ignore the code they must explain why to regulators. Shareholder adviser PIRC has said that since the rule was introduced 80% of companies have complied.

It would be tough to win a vote against James Murdoch, according to media analyst Claire Enders. To oust the chairman 51% of votes would have to be cast against him. News Corp owns just over 39% of Sky shares, but because only three-quarters of shares tend to be voted at Sky annual meetings it effectively has 49% of the vote. It would only take one other big shareholder to tip the balance in favour of the Murdochs.

A spokesman for PIRC said: "In the current climate ignoring the code would not send a good message to the market. We would think the likelihood is they will put the entire board up for re-election

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...