UK regulator clears BSkyB of involvement in News Corp phone hacking scandal, criticizes James Murdoch

By Daniel S Levine,

UK media regulator Ofcom released its findings of an investigation into BSkyB, the pay-TV firm owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and once run by James Murdoch, the current deputy COO at News Corp. Ofcom cleared BSkyB of any involvement in the phone hacking scandal that surrounded News Corp’s publishing arm, but regulators still criticized James for failing to investigate possible criminal actions in the publishing division.

Ofcom said that BSkyB is “fit and proper” and should be able to continue to have a broadcasting license, reports The Week. The organization launched the investigation following the phone hacking scandal, since News Corp owns 39.1 percent of BSkyB. On Thursday it made its decision based on available evidence, but stressed that the investigation could be reopened “should further evidence become available.”

The report remained critical of James, though, who was once seen as the heir to his father’s media empire. “In our view, James Murdoch's conduct in relation to events at News Group Newspapers repeatedly fell short of the exercise of responsibility to be expected of him as CEO and chairman,” Ofcom said, reports Reuters. “To date (however), there is no evidence that Sky was directly or indirectly involved in any of the wrongdoing either admitted or alleged to have taken place at News of the World or The Sun.”

In a statement, News Corp said it was “pleased” by Ofcom’s findings, but criticized its statements about James.

“We disagree, however, with certain of the report’s statements about James Murdoch’s prior actions as an executive and Director, which are not at all substantiated by evidence,” News Corp stated. “As Ofcom itself acknowledged, James deserves credit for his role as chief executive, then chairman and now non-executive director, in leading Sky to an outstanding record as a broadcaster, including its excellent compliance record.”



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