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April 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

With News Corp undoubtedly facing increased regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. as the phone-hacking scandal expands in the U.K., the company is acting to correct a breach of FCC laws regarding foreign ownership. The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the media conglomerate will likely suspend half the voting rights of foreign shareholders to bring it into compliance with FCC rules limiting foreign ownership of broadcasting stations to 25 percent. It was not imediately clear how far it may have exceeded that percentage. While Rupert Murdoch, a native Australian, became an American citizen in the 1980s in order to purchase TV stations in the U.S., several members of his family, who are also News Corp shareholders, did not. Moreover, the company’s largest foreign shareholder, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, owns about 7 percent of News Corp’s voting stock. The FCC has a history of strictly enforcing its rules. In the 1980s, it yanked the licenses of stations owned by RKO General after it determined that the parent company had engaged in “anticompetitive and possibly illegal” reciprocal trade practices. The commission noted that while “this misconduct was not directly related to RKO’s broadcasting activities … such non-broadcast misconduct called into question the character qualifications of the licensee and its ability to serve the public interest.”