The News Corp chief sought to reassure journalists at The Sun today by announcing his plan to launch a Sunday edition of the UK tabloid — and by offering to help the staffers who were arrested last weekend for allegedly paying cops for tips and information. “We are doing everything we can to assist those who were arrested — all suspensions are hereby lifted until or whether charged and they are welcome to return to work,” he said in a letter to employees. “News Corporation will cover their legal expenses. Everyone is innocent unless proven otherwise.” He added, though, that the company also will cooperate with a police investigation into the scandal and “will turn over every piece of evidence we find — not just because we are obligated to but because it is the right thing to do.” Sun staffers were prepared to revolt after learning that News Corp had provided police with evidence that led to the arrests. The paper’s Trevor Kavanagh likened the police actions to a “witch-hunt” and added in a column that “some of the greatest legends in Fleet Street have been held, at least on the basis of evidence so far revealed, for simply doing their jobs as journalists on behalf of the company.” Here’s Murdoch’s letter:
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The UK lawyer who represented the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and other hacking victims is in “advanced stages” of preparations to sue News Corp in the States, The Independent reports. Staffers for attorney Mark … Read More »
Freelancer Cari Lynn is contributing to Deadline’s coverage.
Add the News Corp COO to the list of Big Media execs who believe that they were simply misunderstood in the debate that led Congress to put aside the Hollywood supported anti-piracy bills. “Clearly this got turned upside down, the whole issue,” he said at a conference sponsored by All Things D. Despite the claims of opponents, including those in the tech industry, the proposals empowering the government to block overseas Web pirates “isn’t about censorship…If they did it in the U.S., they’d be shut down. So they moved it offshore. You should still be able to shut them down.” He seemed to take a subtle dig at the MPAA for not making the industry’s case more effectively as opponents turned the issue into a populist crusade. ”If you look at what went on, you’d say that was not a process to replicate,” Carey says. The creative community didn’t ”anticipate the viral aspect and message getting twisted.” Read More »
Four current and former staff members of the popular British tabloid The Sun and a policeman were arrested today as part of the continuing investigation into corruption that arose out of phone hacking at News Corp’s shuttered News Of … Read More »
British police have made what could turn out to be a high-profile arrest in conjunction with the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp’s former tabloid News Of The World. Metropolitan Police officers took a 41-year-old man into custody this morning in London who is believed to be private eye Glenn Mulcaire, a prominent figure in the ongoing investigation. Police said in a statement to the press that the man had been arrested “on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages … and on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.” This is one of few of the 18 arrests in the case to include the latter charge. When contacted by Deadline, the Met said it could neither confirm nor deny the identity of the man and wouldn’t release a name until formal charges had been made. However, The Telegraph reports that neighbors of Mulcaire’s say they heard “something going on” at his house this morning. Read More »
Despite growing opposition from shareholders of British broadcaster BSkyB, as expected, James Murdoch has been re-elected as chairman at the company’s annual meeting. According to the AP, 81.24% of shareholder votes were in favor of retaining Murdoch, … Read More »
Horror stories of car chases, intense paranoia, spitting paparazzi, and most of all an ineffective regulatory system peppered today’s inquiry into News Corp’s News Of The World phone hacking scandal by a British government-backed inquiry into UK press ethics and practices. Notably appearing in London Thursday were actress Sienna Miller and Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Also giving evidence was media lawyer Mark Thompson whose client Hugh Grant gave evidence at the inquiry earlier this week. Thompson accused the UK’s Press Complaints Commission, which is the body that deals with complaints about the editorial content of newspapers and magazines, of being ineffective. “Some of the worst offenders are photographic agencies and paparazzi and the PCC can’t control them,” he said. Also on Thursday, the Leveson Inquiry announced that it would call former British newspaper editor Piers Morgan as a witness to talk about UK media methods. Morgan, who now hosts CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, said he would appear soon. Hearings will resume Monday with testimony from singer Charlotte Church among others. Read More »
James Murdoch can breathe a little easier, if Parliament’s conclusion about his and former employees’ roles in phone-hacking plays out the way the Guardian predicted Friday. While Murdoch’s MP inquisitors seem inclined to believe the News International chairman’s assertions … Read More »
Here is more fodder for the UK parliamentary committee that is scheduled to hear testimony from News Corp deputy COO James Murdoch on Thursday: It looks like the conglomerate’s now-defunct News of the World hired an investigator to tail … Read More »
Rupert Murdoch’s not-quite-so-apparent-heir James will face even tougher questioning Thursday when he returns to Parliament for more testimony about the phone-hacking scandal that has shaken the News Corp empire. In the latest of a string of disclosures since the UK’s culture media and sport select committee last interviewed Murdoch, The Guardian revealed over the weekend that News International’s disgraced former CEO Rebekah Brooks received $2.7 million, use of a London office and chauffered limousine for two years as part of her severance package when she was fired in the wake of the scandal. ”It is remarkably curious that such a generous package is given to Ms. Brooks when others have been cut loose,” said Tom Watson, the member of parliament who has taken the lead in efforts to expose the scandal surrounding News Of The World. “It is almost as if she hasn’t really left the company. I am sure Mr. Murdoch will want to explain the decision to his shareholders.” Scotland Yard on Friday arrested a journalist from News International paper The Sun as part of a related investigation into News Corp employees bribing police and other government officials. Brooks was editor between 2003 and 2009 before being elevated to chief executive of News International. Read More »
News Corp’s UK newspaper arm News International, the company that controlled the now-shuttered tabloid News Of The World, has set up a website for victims of the paper’s admitted phone-hacking scandal to seek compensation rather than go to trial. … Read More »
Rupert Murdoch’s children saw a family counseling psychologist as recently as this past February to help them sort through their feelings about who should succeed their father as CEO of News Corp, Vanity Fair contributing editor Sarah Ellison reports … Read More »
The Metropolitan Police in London have found a cell phone hidden in the newsroom of News Corp’s now-shuttered News Of The World newspaper that they believe was the one used to hack into hundreds of voicemails. That’s the illegal practice that has ensnared News Corp in a scandal that has been felt all the way to the conglomerate’s board and the Murdoch family that controls it. The Financial Times reports the phone could have been used more than 1,000 times to hack phones between 2004 and 2006, and that it is the first piece of physical evidence that the practice was going on inside the walls of the tabloid. The phone is registered to News International, News Corp’s UK newspaper arm; several ex-News International and NOTW employees have been arrested and questioned in the police’s Operation Weeting investigation. The next big news in the probe could come from James Murdoch, the head of News Corp’s European operations, who is scheduled to re-appear in front of a parliamentary panel November 10. Read More »
OK, so based on the makeup of News Corp’s voting shares — they are 40% controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his family, as well as 7% by ally Prince Alwaleed bin Talal — there was no way any of the Murdochs were in danger of being kicked off the board of directors during a vote at last week’s shareholders meeting. But the results, which News Corp made official in SEC documents today, are striking anyway as they show the huge number of company investors who are against Rupert and his sons James and Lachlan. In all, 433,028,510 votes (in shares) were in favor of James Murdoch’s re-election to the board, while 232,013,203 were against, giving the executive and focal point of News Corp’s hacking scandal in the UK the most “no” votes of any of the 15 board members. For Lachlan Murdoch, it was 440,906,956 for and 224,151,616 against, and for Rupert it was 561,685,725-91,798,107. Other board members also had higher-than-normal votes against. The question is, will the optics of so much dissent in the ranks make Rupert acknowledge that there is a problem, and then will he do something to address that problem? The smart money is on no way. Read More »
It’s already been a busy day in News Corp land. As Rupert Murdoch, company shareholders, at least one member of the UK Parliament and Occupy Los Angeles protesters gathered this morning for the annual News Corp shareholders meeting on … Read More »
A report in Sky News today said that lawyers representing the News of the World‘s phone-hacking victims in the UK are planning to cross the pond and sue parent company News Corp and directors including James and Rupert … Read More »
More trouble for James Murdoch today: UK police told several News International executives — including former CEO Rebekah Brooks — in 2006 that several News of the World journalists were involved in phone hacking, according to a report today in The Independent. The paper says it has “strong circumstantial evidence” that in August 2006 a senior police officer supplied names of lawbreaking reporters to Brooks. She’s one of Rupert Murdoch’s closest allies and was arrested by Scotland Yard in July.
The report raises new questions about Murdoch’s claim that he believed as late as 2008 that only one reporter — former NOTW royals reporter Clive Goodman — had been implicated. The date is important: Murdoch maintains that he wasn’t trying to cover up the extent of the scandal in 2008 when he paid an astronomical $1.4M settlement to a hacking victim who was aware of a second reporter’s involvement — on the condition that the matter be kept secret. Read More »
Can News Corp Escape Scandal Unscathed?
There’s not much good blood between Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch (maybe Turner challenging Murdoch for a fist fight once has something to do with that), but still, Turner’s suggestion that Murdoch step down from News Corp for the company’s role in the UK … Read More »
UPDATE: Alec Baldwin confirmed our story via Twitter. “Fox did kill my NewsCorp hacking joke,” he wrote. “Which sucks bc I think it would have made them look better. A little.”
EXCLUSIVE: The opening video for tonight’s Primetime Emmy Awards on News Corp-owned Fox was supposed to feature 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin playing a fictional president of television. But after a joke about News Corp topper Rupert Murdoch and the ongoing UK phone-hacking scandal involving his media empire was cut from the pretaped bit, Baldwin pulled out. He was replaced at the last minute by Star Trek veteran Leonard Nimoy, who re-did the skit sans the News Corp joke. Baldwin vaguely referenced the incident in a Sept. 17 tweet. “I did a short Emmy pretape a few days ago. Now they tell me News Corp may cut the funniest line.” Sources say that Baldwin worked with the writers who penned the script for the skit. He taped it, but after hearing that the Murdoch joke was being cut, he told the network that he prefers if the bit with him doesn’t air at all. Read More »