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MURDOCH FACES SHAREHOLDER STORM OVER HACKING (Updated)

October 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch responded to shareholder anger today over the recent scandals that have plagued his vast media conglomerate News Corp. Referring to the telephone hacking of celebrities and politicians practiced by his now-shuttered News of the World tabloid, Murdoch said, ”I promise you we will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of this and put it right.” Addressing shareholders at their annual meeting at the 20th Century Fox studios in Los Angeles, Murdoch declared, “We cannot just be a profitable company, we must be a principled company. … We must admit to and confront our mistakes and establish rigorous and vigorous procedures to put things right.” But he turned aside procedures put forth by shareholders, including one recommendation that an independent board of directors be established to oversee corporate governance. Murdoch also listened to new accusations directed against the company by Labor MP Tom Watson, who has led the battle in Parliament against News Corp’s News International, the umbrella group that oversees the activities of its British newspapers. Without providing details, Watson said he had uncovered new evidence that News of the World had not only hacked into telephones but into computers as well. Murdoch replied that he was unaware of such activity. “If you have further evidence, please let us know,” he said. Watson retorted, ”I find it inconceivable that a company of this size does not know things that I know.” In the end, the News Corp shareholders reelected the 15-member board of directors, including Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James. (The Murdoch family controls 40 percent of the voting shares.)