The committee says a number of assertions the former executives made in 2009 were untrue, including the claim that illegal voice mail interception was limited to one reporter and the assertion that phone hacking had been investigated thoroughly by the company.
“In a news conference Tuesday, the U.K. Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee said all of its 10 members supported the report’s conclusions about Les Hinton, Tom Crone and Colin Myler. But Conservative Member of Parliament Louise Mensch said the Conservative MPs on the committee voted against the final report largely because of the line saying Rupert Murdoch isn’t a “fit person” to run a global company. Ms. Mensch said the report should therefore be seen as “partisan.
Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company” and accusing several former company executives of misleading parliament.
” It passed with the support of six Labour and Liberal Democrat legislators. Four Conservatives opposed it. The report’s denunciation of Rupert Murdoch as an “unfit” steward for an international company could play into the deliberations of Ofcom, the U.K. communications regulator, which is evaluating whether the owners of British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC are “fit and proper” to hold a British broadcasting license in light of the phone hacking scandal. News Corp. owns 39.1% of BSkyB and holds a number of the pay TV giant’s board seats. The possibility of losing BSkyB’s broadcasting license is perhaps the biggest remaining risk to News Corp., because a revocation of the license would throw into jeopardy one of the media conglomerate’s most lucrative properties.A spokesman for U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said the government will “consider the report.
It also singles out James Murdoch for displaying a “lack of curiosity,” even “willful ignorance,” when handling fallout from the phone hacking scandal as the manager overseeing News Corp.
” Regarding the committee’s finding that Rupert Murdoch isn’t a “fit person” to run a global company, the spokesman added: “That is a matter for the regulatory authority, not the government, to decide.
“The report looked specifically at whether executives from News Corp.’s U.K. newspaper unit, News International, misled the committee during hearings on phone hacking in 2009. “The behaviour of News International and certain witnesses in this affair demonstrated contempt for [the parliamentary] system in the most blatant fashion,” the report concludes. The committee plans to ask the House of Commons, the U.K. Parliament’s primary lawmaking chamber, to make a final decision on “whether a contempt has been committed and, if so, what punishment should be imposed.
” It isn’t a given that the House of Commons will vote on the matter. Misleading a parliamentary committee isn’t a criminal offensewitnesses generally don’t testify under oathbut it can constitute contempt of parliament, a noncriminal sanction levied against people who impede parliament’s work. The report didn’t say what the punishment would be other than “reputational damage and public opprobrium.
” The report didn’t accuse Rupert or James Murdoch of misleading parliament but said the pair presided over an affair that “demonstrates huge failings of corporate governance.
Phaedon George is a business journalist based in Hobart, Australia. Phaedon has a passion for financial markets and breaking news stories and loves writing about business news, stock market, and economic opinions that matters most to its audience. Phaedon spends a lot of time discovering and researching latest financial markets and industry news stories in order to make sure the latest and greatest stories are brought to you first on BigBoardNews.com.