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Murdoch says 'no excuses' over phone hacking

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Yericko Nyerere, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. Yericko Nyerere

    Yericko Nyerere Verified User

    Oct 21, 2011
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    News International pays $3.2m to family of murdered schoolgirl whose phone was hacked as Murdoch faces shareholder ire.

    News Corporation boss, Rupert Murdoch said that there was "simply no excuse" for the phone-hacking scandal that has shaken his media empire, as he faced shareholder ire in Los Angeles, at the company's annual general meeting.

    Murdoch's British newspaper company earlier said it would pay $3.2m to the family of a murdered schoolgirl whose phone was hacked by journalists in a scandal that*threatens to undermine*the media tycoon's transatlantic empire.

    "Thre is simply no excuse for such unethical behaviour," Murdoch told the shareholder meeting on Friday, about the hacking of cellphones by journalists from the now shuttered British tabloid weekly The News of the World.

    "I am personally determined to right whatever wrong has been committed and to make sure that it doesn't happen again anywhere in our company," he said.

    News International*confirmed the settlement on Friday in a joint statement with the family of Milly Dowler, the 13-year-old who was found murdered in 2002.

    Murdoch shut down the 168-year-old News of the World newspaper in July after evidence emerged that its reporters had eavesdropped on*Dowler's voice mail messages following her disappearance.

    The scandal has claimed the resignations of several top Murdoch executives, and several former employees have been arrested.

    News International said Murdoch would also donate a further $1.6m to charities chosen by the Dowler family, including youth and cancer research groups.

    "Nothing that has been agreed will ever bring back Milly or undo the traumas of her disappearance and the horrendous murder trial earlier this year," the Dowlers said in a statement.

    "The only way that a fitting tribute could be agreed was to ensure that a very substantial donation to charity was made in Milly's memory. We hope that projects will be undertaken so that some good can come from this."

    Murdoch met with the Dowlers in July to personally apologise to the family, saying he was "appalled" to have discovered what happened.

    'Abhorrent behaviour'

    "The behaviour that the News of the World exhibited towards the Dowlers was abhorrent and I hope this donation underscores my regret for the company's role in this awful event," he said in a statement on Friday.

    News Corporation has launched an internal inquiry and set aside $32m to compensate victims of widespread phone hacking, who could number in their hundreds, prompting some to call for Murdoch to step down.

    But given that his family controls about 40 per cent of shares, with the support of billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns an additional 7.0 per cent, he*was expected to*scrape through Friday's meeting.

    Earlier this month International Shareholder Services (ISS), the corporate advisers, recommended that News Corp shareholders vote against the re-election of 13 members of the 15-member board, including Murdoch and sons James and Lachlan.

    In it's annual meeting held on Friday, Murdoch showed defiance in the face of angry shareholders as they slammed the media company for poor corporate governance and said he should give up the chairman role.

    Murdoch also heard from British member of parliment, Tom Watson, who said that journalists at New of the World hacked computers as well as telephone voice mails.

    "I promise you absolutely that we will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of this," Murdoch said in response to Watson's claims.

    According to Al Jazeera's correspondent Rob Reynolds, "Voting shareholders are voting on a proposal to disapprove all members of News Corp's board of directors and to require the Chairman of the board to be an independent figure without financial ties to the company or the Murdoch family."

    In addition, it said shareholders should discuss Rupert Murdoch's exceptionally high base salary of $8.1m, plus a $12.5m bonus in the 2011 fiscal year