News Corp. Board Defends Murdoch After Critical Parliamentary Report

By : Subscribe to Jonathan's | May 3, 2012 2:20 AM IST

News Corp. expressed the board of directors' continued confidence in the leadership of Rupert Murdoch as its chairman and chief executive.

News Corp's announcement comes a day after a British parliamentary committee report found Murdoch unfit to "exercise the stewardship of a major international company."

In a statement released on Wednesday, News Corp.'s board praised Rupert Murdoch's "fitness" and supported him "continuing to lead News Corporation into the future."

"The Board based its vote of confidence on Rupert Murdoch's vision and leadership ... and his demonstrated resolve to address the mistakes of the Company identified in the Select Committee's report," it continued.

However, Britain's House of Commons Culture, Media, and Sport Committee found that Murdoch "did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited willful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications."

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"This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organization and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International."

The committee also criticized Murdoch for covering up the phone-hacking controversy that erupted at News of the World, a former News Corp subsidiary, and eventually led to the newspaper's closure.

The scandal led to the arrests of News of the World managing editor Andy Coulson, chief editor Neil Wallis, and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, among several others.

News Corp. was subsequently forced to cancel its merger with British satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB), a company under investigation itself.  British communications regulator OFCOM is looking into "whether BSkyB is and remains fit and proper to continue to hold its broadcast licenses," the Washington Post reports.

Murdoch sent a memo to News Corp staff Tuesday saying an internal investigation "found no evidence of illegal conduct" at its other UK newspapers since the affair, other than an isolated incident months ago, the New York Times reports.

News Corp. said it has "instituted sweeping changes in [their] internal controls and [their] compliance programs on a world-wide basis," in a separate statement Tuesday.  

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