MPs today said Rupert Murdoch “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company”, accusing him of “wilful blindness”.
MPs today said Rupert Murdoch “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company”, accusing him of “wilful blindness” to the immoral deeds being done in his name, in his company.
The culture, media and sport select committee report (pdf) News International and Phone-hacking said the culture of the company’s newspapers “permeated from the top” and “speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International”.
The report says:
“We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of major international company.”
Of James Murdoch, it describes him as exhibiting a “lack of curiosity… wilful ignorance even” at the time of the negotiations surrounding the 2008 Gordon Taylor phone-hacking settlement. It concluded it was “simply astonishing” he did not realise the “one ‘rogue reporter’ line was untrue” until late 2010.
It says of him:
“We would add to these admissions that as the head of a journalistic enterprise, we are astonished that James Murdoch did not seek more information or ask to see the evidence and counsel’s opinion when he was briefed by Tom Crone and Colin Myler on the Gordon Taylor case.”
While on Rebekah Brooks, the report says it would not draw conclusions on evidence to the committee about Milly Dowler because of the ongoing police investigation. They did, though, say she must take responsibility for “the culture which permitted” unethical newsgathering methods over Dowler in 2002.
The report adds:
“The attempts by the News of the World to get a scoop on Milly Dowler led to a considerable amount of police resource being redirected to the pursuit of false leads.”
• JH, BJ and the Murdochs 29 Apr 2012
• Is Jeremy Hunt a “cheerleader” for the Murdochs? 24 Apr 2012
• Just when you thought hackgate couldn’t get any worse… 29 Jul 2011
As well as the select committee report, there are several other probes into phone hacking currently under way, namely:
• Leveson Inquiry: Judicial probe into press standards, investigating the extent of unlawful or improper conduct at News International and other newspaper groups – it will also examine the original police probe into phone hacking;
• Operation Weeting: Police investigation into alleged phone-hacking at News of the World;
• Operation Elveden: Police investigation into inappropriate payments to officers;
• Operation Tuleta: Police investigation into allegations of computer hacking;
• Civil action by alleged hacking victims: Thousands of potential victims identified and several, including singer Charlotte Church, already awarded damages.