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September 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

James Murdoch

A day after the British media regulator OFCOM said that James Murdoch’s conduct as head of News International while the telephone hacking scandal unfolded “repeatedly fell short of the conduct to be expected of him as a chief executive officer and chairman,” reports emerged that News Corp is about to appoint him as head of the Fox Networks Group in the U.S. The regulator could have forced News Corp to sell its 37-percent stake in the British satellite system BSkyB if it had found that its behavior in the hacking scandal made it unfit to hold a license. It stopped short of doing so, saying that the evidence thus far has revealed no criminal conduct on the part of Rupert Murdoch’s media company. But it noted that official investigations into the role of the company in relation to the hacking scandal and alleged efforts to cover it up are ongoing and that it might reverse its decision “should further relevant evidence become available in the future.” It minced no words in chastising the younger Murdoch for his failure to root out wrongdoers at the company’s British newspapers, saying, “We consider James Murdoch’s conduct, including his failure to initiate action on his own account on a number of occasions, to be both difficult to comprehend and ill-judged.” Following the outbreak of the scandal, Murdoch resigned his position as head of News International and returned to the U.S., where he became deputy chief operating officer of News Corp. According to reports, which first appeared in the London Financial Times, his current role will be expanded to include oversight of the Fox broadcast network and the Fox cable channels, including FX and the National Geographic Channel, excluding the Fox-owned stations and the Fox News Channel, which will remain the bailiwick of Roger Ailes. On Thursday, News Corp issued a statement saying that it was pleased that OFCOM had decided that it was a “fit and proper” but maintained that the regulator’s judgment of Murdoch’s conduct was “not at all substantiated by evidence.” In reporting on the latest developments, Los Angeles Times media writer Joe Flint commented, “The young Murdoch’s reputation has been tarnished by his management of News International and its newspapers, which is caught up in an ethics scandal. But he clearly still has the support of the one man who matters — his father.”