May 1st, 2012

The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee has published its report on the News International phone-hacking scandal. Direct pdf link here; TPM’s requires a Facebook account.
Key graf (page 70, paragraph 229):

We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.

The paragraphs including this sentence were adopted on a party-line vote (page 115). But even if you take out the amendments on which the committee was split, the MPs are all still pretty angry at being lied to so much.

Gender wars footnote: the Committee staff are all women (frontispiece).

10 Responses to “Murdochs phone-hacking update”

  1. Barry says:

    And they’re going to do…………………………?

    (I’m asking because in the USA, Congress and the media have no problem at all being lied to)

  2. Finn says:

    Yeah, I don’t get what this means. Are they going to force him to sell? Close it down? Take it away? Or are they just going to make frownie faces and talk about Murdoch’s temerity for continuing in the face of such disapproval?

    • politicalfootball says:

      The NYT article suggests that the report amounts to a frownie face, with the threat of more frownie faces to come for the News Corp. underbosses:

      The committee’s findings appeared certain to set off a new storm in Parliament, with the Labour opposition signaling that it intended to press for a vote finding Mr. Hinton, Mr. Myler and Mr. Crone guilt of contempt of Parliament, a rarely used sanction in modern times that Labour supporters said would do serious damage to the men’s reputations and professional careers.

  3. James Wimberley says:

    As far as I can see, the proposal is that News Corp be held in contempt of Parliament (paras 279-280). I don’t think there are any constitutional limits on Parliament’s powers in such a case, only political ones. Cameron will presumably resist calls for billion-pound fines or dragging Rupert in chains to the Tower, but I wonder if he’ll be able to limit the damage to symbolic punishment. Stay tuned.

  4. Katja says:

    The statement (which, as James noted, the Conservatives didn’t support) is relevant with respect to section 3 (3) of the Broadcasting Act 1996 (and the matching provision of the Broadcasting Act 1990):

    (3) The Commission—
    (a) shall not grant a licence to any person unless they are satisfied that he is a fit and proper person to hold it, and
    (b) shall do all that they can to secure that, if they cease to be so satisfied in the case of any person holding a licence, that person does not remain the holder of the licence;

    That could, in theory, lead to Ofcom stripping News Corporation of its broadcasting license, though that would be unprecedented and unlikely. More likely (not counting the possibility of a slap on the wrist or a really stern talking-to — the most likely outcomes) would be a restructuring of News Corporation’s broadcasting or corporate leadership arrangements.

    • Katya: thanks, this is emerging as the key issue in this line of this multi-stranded Dickensian or Balzacian scandal. An ITN reporter pointed out tonight that OFCOM has an ongoing duty to comply with 3(b), they don’t need a reference from anybody and must now consider the MPs’ report and the evidence given and lies told to the committee.
      How does this mesh with US investigations, the Hunt scandal, and the Leveson inquiry? How are News Corp.’s shareholders reacting? Stay tuned for the next episode!

  5. koreyel says:

    We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.

    He is not fit to be an American…

    This foreign SOB needs to get his foreign wife, his largest investor– a foreign Arab prince– and get the hell out of my country.
    Murdoch is a cancer. Cut him out, spit him out, put him on a slow boat to China, whatever. But rid the country of this foreign menace.

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