MPs have concluded that Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run a “major international company” in a select committee report on phone hacking published today.
The damning report also ruled that executives from Murdoch’s companies misled parliament when giving evidence over the phone hacking scandal that has rocked the company.
Former Chief Executive of News International, Les Hinton, in 2009, did not tell the truth about payments to Clive Goodman including the payment of his legal fee.
Tom Crone, the former legal manager, misled the committee in 2009 by giving a false impression of the significance of confidentiality in the settlement of payment to Gordon Taylor.
Mr. Crone and Colin Myler, the final editor of News of the World, also misled the committee by saying they did not know about other News of the World phone journalists being involved in phone hacking while at the newspaper.
Rupert Murdoch and son, James, should “be prepared to take responsibility” for the phone hacking that occurred within their businesses the report found as the News of the World and News International were judged to have misled the committee.
They criticized the internal investigation into phone hacking at the companies and said they lied to the committed by “failing to disclose documents which would have helped expose the truth.
“Their instinct throughout, until it was too late, was to cover up rather
then seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators, as they also professed they
would do after the criminal convictions.”
The Hacked Off campaign, which is campaigning for press reform on behalf of those that have been hacked said the report is “devastating” to the reputation of Murdoch’s companies.
Martin Moore from Hacked Off said: “The Select Committee is effectively saying that the most senior figures at News International, either knowingly or by a culpable failure to act properly, covered up illegal activities and sustained intrusion into the private lives of hundreds of people.
“The company could start making amends by coming clean even at this late stage by waiving legal privilege in respect of the Leveson Inquiry over documents held by its law firm, Burton Copeland, as the Committee recommends.
MPs in the report said that the House of Commons will have to decide whether the offense of Contempt of the House has been committed, which can be punishable by prison or a fine.
Although these punishments have not been used for hundreds of years. They said that it does not make a difference that when misleading the committee those who did so were not under oath.
The committee will now table a motion to the House of Commons to endorse the conclusions about misleading evidence.
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