UK & World News
Murdoch: Hacking Report Was 'Difficult Reading'
News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch has admitted an MPs' report that branded him "not a fit person" to run a major media company was "difficult reading".
The Culture, Media and Sport select committee found that News Corporation and News International had "corporately misled" their inquiry over the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World.
Although the MPs cleared both Mr Murdoch and his son James of deception, they said the pair should "ultimately be prepared to take responsibility" for failings at the two companies.
In a message to News International staff Mr Murdoch said: "I recognise that for all of us - myself in particular - it is difficult to read many of the report's findings.
"But we have done the most difficult part, which has been to take a long, hard and honest look at our past mistakes.
"There is no easy way around this, but I am proud to say that we have been working hard to put things right."
News Corporation, which has a 39% stake in BSkyB, the owner of Sky News, acknowledged its response to the phone-hacking scandal had been "too slow and too defensive" but criticised the MPs' report as "highly partisan".
"News Corporation regrets... that the Select Committee's analysis of the factual record was followed by some commentary that we, and indeed several members of the committee, consider unjustified and highly partisan," it said.
"These remarks divided the members along party lines."
The key paragraphs questioning Mr Murdoch's suitability to run a major company say: "This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International.
"We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company."
Media regulator Ofcom is considering whether BSkyB should hold a broadcast licence in the wake of the phone-hacking crisis at News International, which is owned by BSkyB shareholder News Corporation.
Following the MPs report, BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch emphasised to reporters that News Corp and BSkyB are "separate" companies.
"We believe that Sky's track record as a broadcaster is the most important factor in determining our fitness to hold a licence," he said.
The inclusion of the statement about Mr Murdoch fitness to run a company was opposed by the four Conservative MPs on the committee but was included after being voted for by the five Labour members and one Liberal Democrat.
Conservative Louise Mensch said Labour MP Tom Watson's amendment had undermined the credibility of the report.
"We all thought that was wildly outside the scope of a select committee, was an improper attempt to influence Ofcom and to tread on areas that are not the province of a select committee," she said.
But Mr Watson, who tabled the amendment, said he was disappointed that the Conservatives had been unwilling to sign up to it.
"These people corrupted our country. They brought shame on our police force and our Parliament. They lied, they cheated, blackmailed and bullied and we should all be ashamed when we think how we cowered before them for too long," he said.