Murdoch resigns as director of two News Corp companies

Nathan Pensky · November 25, 2011 · Short URL:

James Murdoch finally acknowledges his part in phone-hacking scandal that has rocked News Corp.

James Murdoch, son and heir apparent to News Corporation magnate Rupert Murdoch, has stepped down as the director of two subsidiaries, News Group Newspapers and Times Newspapers, both publishers of Murdoch-owned newspapers in Brittain, reports the NY Times. This is the first public acknolwedgement on James Murdoch's part in the company's much-publicized phone-tapping scandal.

James Murdoch remains active as News Corp.'s deputy chief-operating officer. Murdoch also still sits as the company's News International chairman. Previous News Corp. Chief executive Rebekah Brooks had resigned July 2011 in the wake of the phone-tapping scandal, and was replaced by Tom Mockridge.

The phone-tapping scandal centered around charges levied at reporting tactics by Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid, News of the World (NOW). Allegations were made that NOW reporters had hacked the voice mail accounts of a 13-year-old murder victim, as well as relatives of slain Iraq and Afghanistan war soldiers.

James Murdoch announced on July 7 2011 that NOW would close, in the wake of said allegations. Brooks announced her resignation July 15 and was arrested for involvement in the scandal two days later. Several other top positions in NOW also resigned, and Andy Coulson, former communications director under British Prime Minister David Cameron, was arrested under suspicion of conspiracy and corruption.

Both Rupert and James Murdoch have since testified before a Parliamentary committee, investigating the scandal. James Murdoch's resignations from the two companies were discovered in regulatory filings, showing that he resigned from News Group Newspapers on September 19 and Times Newspapers on Sep. 13.

Sep. 13  was the same date on which james Murdoch was notified he would be called back to answer more questions in another Parliamentary hearing, regarding the phone-tapping scandal, following his July testimony.

During this initial testimony by James and Rupert Murdoch, both apologized for unethical news reporting practices, but denied previous knowledge of them. However, in early Novemeber a report by The Guardian showed that NOW had hired a private investogator to tail lawyers representing the phone-hacking victims, in an effort to dig up dirt to discourage them from pursuing the cases.

In James Murdoch's second testimony before Parliament, he said had not meant to previously mislead the investigative committee, blaming former underlings. There are currently three ongoing criminal investigations into the unlawful reporting practices of NOW.

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