The report of the Culture Media, Sport and Olympics Select Committee into the phone hacking at the News of the World has just been published (11:30 BST, UTC+1). Details are coming out but:
Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run an international company because he showed “wilful blindness” to the extent of phone-hacking at the News of the World, a devastating report by MPs has concluded.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...
The News Corporation chairman “turned a blind eye” to what was going on at News International as it sought to “cover up wrongdoing”, the culture, media and sport committee said.
The culture of cover-up “permeated from the top throughout the organisation”, the report says, “and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International”.
“Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company,” it adds, and together with his son James should take “ultimate responsibility” for the scandal.
Further indications are that the Committee found that other executives at News Corps' News International lied to them and are liable to be brought before the Commons to face contempt of Parliament allegations.
3:53 AM PT: UPDATE:
Committee holding press conference. ALL Conservatives on the committee voted against it because of the phrase about Murdoch (surprise!) Claim it is therefore partisan.
4:01 AM PT: The Committee on the evidence before them:
(Report quoted under the terms of the Open Parliament Licence)
Les Hinton misled the Committee in 2009 in not telling the truth about payments to
Clive Goodman and his role in authorising them, including the payment of his legal fee.
He also misled the Committee about the extent of his knowledge of allegations that
phone-hacking extended beyond Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire to others at the
News of the World (see paragraphs 84, 85 and 91).
• Tom Crone misled the Committee in 2009 by giving a counter-impression of the
significance of confidentiality in the Gordon Taylor settlement (see paragraph 118) and
sought to mislead the Committee about the commissioning of surveillance.
• Tom Crone and Colin Myler misled the Committee by answering questions falsely
about their knowledge of evidence that other News of the World employees had been
involved in phone-hacking and other wrongdoing (see paragraphs 130 and 140).
• Corporately, the News of the World and News International misled the Committee
about the true nature and extent of the internal investigations they professed to have
carried out in relation to phone hacking; by making statements they would have known
were not fully truthful; and by failing to disclose documents which would have helped
expose the truth. Their instinct throughout, until it was too late, was to cover up rather
than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators, as they also professed they
would do after the criminal convictions. In failing to investigate properly, and by
ignoring evidence of widespread wrongdoing, News International and its parent News
Corporation exhibited wilful blindness, for which the companies’ directors—including
Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch—should ultimately be prepared to take
4:21 AM PT: On voting: the four Conservative members of the committee voted against. The four Labour and one Liberal Democrat members voted for the report. If the Lib Dem member had voted with the 3 Tories, the Conservative Chair of the committee would have had the casting vote.
4:26 AM PT: More of the report of note:
163. There is, however, a bigger picture—and longer timeframe—that is relevant
beyond the Gordon Taylor settlement. Not specifically being shown evidence, nor
asking to see it, nor discussing explicitly its ramifications is not the same as not being
aware. From the conflicting accounts, and despite our surprise, we cannot say whether
in 2008 James Murdoch was aware of the significance of the Taylor case, or of the
importance attached by his executives to it being settled in confidence. We have been
told that, notwithstanding our 2010 Report, the further media investigations including
the New York Times, the settlement with Max Clifford and further civil cases by nonroyal
victims, it was as late as December 2010 that James Murdoch—and Rupert
Murdoch—realised that the one ‘rogue reporter’ line was untrue. This, we consider, to
be simply astonishing.
Tory Louis Mensch leading pro-Murdoch counter-attack at press conference.
4:46 AM PT: Report on James Murdoch and the Gordon Taylor settlement in his action for invasion of privacy:
177. The e-mail exchange that took place on 7 June 2008 demonstrates that James
Murdoch was given the opportunity to appraise himself of the Gordon Taylor case and
to make himself aware of its significance. Had he read the e-mail chain properly he
ought to have asked searching questions of Colin Myler and Tom Crone. If he did not
read the e-mail chain, there is no good excuse for this and it betrays an astonishing lack
of curiosity on the part of a Chief Executive. Had James Murdoch been more attentive
to the correspondence that he received at the time, he could have taken action on
phone-hacking in 2008 and this Committee could have been told the truth in 2009.