A committee of British lawmakers ruled today that Rupert Murdoch is “unfit’ to run a major international company.
Reuters reports that the cross-party parliamentary committee approved the report by a majority of six to four. The committee said that Rupert, James Murdoch, and News Corp. exhibited “willful blindness” about the phone hacking scandal.
The committee writes:
“News International and its parent News Corporation exhibited willful blindness, for which the companies’ directors -including Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch – should ultimately take responsibility… This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International…. Their instinct throughout, until it was too late, was to cover up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators… We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”
The CS Monitor reports that the report doesn’t carry any legal weight of its own but it will be examined by British Media regulator Ofcom. The AJC reports that OfCom is currently investigating whether BSkyB, which is partly owned by News Corp, is a “fit and proper” owner of a broadcast license.
The scandal could also have implications for Murdoch’s media empire in the United States. Murdoch, who owns the Fox television network, 20th Century Fox, publisher Harper Collins, Dow Jones Newswires, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, is currently being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. Several shareholders are also asking Murdoch to step down as chairman due to the “lax ethical culture” of News Corp.