Legal Filings

Legal Filings
Jul 22, 2011

CREW Asks Congress to Investigate Murdoch’s FCC Licenses

rupert MurdochWashington, D.C. – Today Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to the House and Senate Commerce Committees asking for hearings into whether James and Rupert Murdoch meet the character standards set out by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to retain their 27 Fox broadcast licenses.  Under the law, broadcast frequencies may be used only by people of good “character,” who will serve “the public interest,” and speak with “candor.” Significant character deficiencies may warrant disqualification from holding a license.  Click here to read CREW’s letter.

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “Given all the underhanded, devious and illegal activities of News. Corp, combined with James Murdoch’s failure to be candid when he testified before a parliamentary committee, it seems evident the Murdochs don’t meet the FCC’s character standard.”

Yesterday, former News of the World editor Colin Myles and legal manager Tom Crone said that when testifying before parliament on Tuesday, James Murdoch inaccurately denied seeing the so-called “for Neville” email before settling the lawsuit of Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association in 2008.  The email apparently contains information indicating more than one rogue reporter was involved in the hacking, meaning Mr. Murdoch was aware over two years ago that the hacking was much more significant than the company ever admitted before the scandal exploded earlier this month.

In addition, on Wednesday, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) sent a letter to the attorney general and the FBI director noting that another News Corp. subsidiary, News America had been involved in computer hacking in 2004.

“News Corp. has a pattern of outrageous and illegal conduct, including bribery, wire fraud, computer and phone hacking. Add to that James Murdoch’s lack of candor in confronting the scandal and addressing the parliamentary committee, and it is hard to see how the Murdochs meet the FCC’s character standard,” said Ms. Sloan.  “Congress should hold hearings on this issue and forward its findings to the FCC for further action against News Corp.  Holding U.S. broadcast licenses is a privilege, not a right.  The Murdochs – through a pattern of misconduct and deception – may have lost that right.”

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