Thu July 14, 2011
In Reversal Murdochs Say They Will Testify Before Parliamentary Panel
In a reversal, Rupert Murdoch and his son James said they would testify before a British Parliamentary panel next week. The panel is looking into the phone hacking scandal that has the Murdoch media empire in disarray. First, it precipitated the closure of News Of The World and, yesterday, as Mark reported, Murdoch announced he was abandoning his bid to fully acquire British cable broadcaster BskyB.
NPR's David Folkenflik reports from London:
Initially, both Murdochs had declined to appear at a parliamentary committee hearing next Tuesday. The panel is looking into the knowledge of top News Corp executives about the allegedly widespread practices of hacking into cell phone voicemails and bribing police officers for information. Rupert Murdoch said he'd cooperate but not testify and James Murdoch offered to appear instead in August. Now they say they will both join Rebeka Brooks, their top British newspaper executive and a former editor of the tabloid at the heart of the scandal, in testifying before the committee.
Yesterday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) asked Attorney General Eric Holder and the Security and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro to look into whether News Corp. broke any U.S. laws.
"The allegations, if true, may constitute a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits corrupt payments intended to influence any act or decision of a foreign official," Rockefeller and Boxer wrote in a joint statement.
"The reported allegations against News Corporation are very serious and indicate potentially thousands of victims and a pattern of illegal activity. It important to ensure that no United States laws were broken and no United States citizens were victimized."