Murdoch tells staff NI internal purge is over

Rupert Murdoch has attempted move on from yesterday’s damning parliamentary criticism by informing staff that the internal Management and Standards Committee has now completed its investigation into his surviving UK titles.

The MSC inquiries have resulted in 12 serving and former senior Sun journalists being arrested on suspicion of being involved in bribery and corruption.

Murdoch said that no wrongdoing has been uncovered at The Times and Sunday Times beyond the illegal hacking by The Times in 2009 of an email account to unmask anonymous police blogger Nightjack.

Murdoch said yesterday in a letter to staff: “Today, the UK’s Parliamentary select committee on culture, media and sport released its full report on issues surrounding phone hacking at the News of the World.

“The report affords us a unique opportunity to reflect upon the mistakes we have made and further the course we have already completed to correct them.

“I recognise that for all of us – myself in particular – it is difficult to read many of the report’s findings. But we have done the most difficult part, which has been to take a long, hard and honest look at our past mistakes.

“There is no easy way around this, but I am proud to say that we have been working hard to put things right.

“We certainly should have acted more quickly and aggressively to uncover wrongdoing. We deeply regret what took place and have taken our share of responsibility for not rectifying the situation sooner.

“To that end, News Corporation continues to co-operate with all inquiries relating to voicemail interception and improper payments to public officials. Indeed, we have gone beyond what law enforcement authorities have asked of us, to ensure not only that we are in compliance with the law, but that we adhere to the highest ethical standards.

“I would also like to inform you today that the autonomous management and standards committee, which was established by the company to ensure full co-operation with all investigations, has completed its review of the Times and the Sunday Times, assisted by outside counsel, Linklaters. We found no evidence of illegal conduct other than a single incident reported months ago, which led to the discipline of the relevant employee.

“Further, the management and standards committee has also completed its internal review into the Sun.

News International, at the instigation of James, instituted important governance reforms.

“In addition, under the guidance of Gerson Zweifach, News Corporation’s group general counsel, the company is implementing a more robust global compliance structure, with expanded education, customised controls, and group compliance officers across our businesses.

“Today’s report comes at a time when our business has never been stronger and we continue to demonstrate strong operational excellence focused on returning maximum value to all of our stockholders.

“It is a testament to the integrity and strength of you, our more than 50,000 colleagues around the world, that we could experience such exceptional performance even in the midst of unprecedented public scrutiny. I have also never been more encouraged by your dedication and steadfast commitment to our future.

“The opportunity to emerge from this difficult period a stronger, better company has never been greater and I will look to each of you to help me ensure that News Corporation’s next 60 years are more vital and successful than ever.”

Yesterday, the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Select Committee was scathing in its criticism of Murdoch and his company in its long awaited report into News International and the Phone-hacking scandal.

The report said: “News International has repeatedly stonewalled, obfuscated and misled and only come clean, reluctantly, when no other course of action was sensible and when its wider commercial interests were threatened. In Rupert Murdoch’s own words to the Leveson inquiry, News Corporation in the UK mounted a cover-up.”

And in a judgment that was not supported by the Conservative members, the committee said: “On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications.

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

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