Under Fire, James Murdoch Quits Bskyb

James Murdoch, the embattled son of News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch,has stepped down from his post as chairman of the British TV satellite service BSkyB, saying that he did not want the company to be "undermined by matters outside the scope of this company." He acknowledged that his chairmanship of the company "could become a lightning rod for BSkyB." His resignation comes amid reports that the British regulator OFCOM is seeking to determine whether News Corp should be allowed to continue owning a controlling interest (39 percent) in the service in light of its British newspapers' involvement in voicemail hacking and alleged bribery of police and other public officials. It also comes in advance of a highly anticipated report by the British Parliament's Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, which investigated the voicemail hacking scandal. Last month, Murdoch resigned as head of News International, which oversees the London newspapers, saying in a seven-page statement to the committee that he took "my share of responsibility for not uncovering wrongdoing earlier," but denying that he had been aware of it at the time. The younger Murdoch has since relocated to New York from London, where he has said that he will focus on building the company's pay TV business, of which BSkyB is regarded as a key element. (It is expected to launch a streaming service similar to Netflix's soon.) News Corp's critics reacted to the resignation with a shrug, noting that it did nothing to help answer the question of which higher-ups authorized the illegal activities of journalists working at the News Corp-owned newspapers and who approved payments to private detectives and public officials for their alleged involvement in them.

03/04/2012


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