Thursday, July 14, 2011

On three continents, 'fair and balanced' news organization is called to account for its behavior and news coverage

In Australia, already where it is Friday, the chief executive and chairman of News Limited, the Australian wing of the Murdoch media empire, was forced to defend his company's news coverage.

"I often hear noises from some government ministers about how they are unhappy about how they are being portrayed in some News Limited publications but most forthrightly in The Australian and The Daily Telegraph," John Hartigan was quoted today.
Hartigan denied that the goal of News Limited was to interfere in the politics of Australia and oust the current government.

In the U.S. two Senators yesterday sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro asking them to investigate News Corp. in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that led to the closing of News of the World.

"The reported allegations against News Corporation are very serious, indicate a pattern of illegal activity, and involve thousands of potential victims," CBS News quotes the letter from Senators Barbara Boxer and Jay Rockefeller. "It is important to ensure that no United States laws were broken and no United States citizens were victimized."

This morning, back in the U.K., the deputy sergeant at arms of the House of Commons is delivering a summons to Rupert and James Murdoch that demands that the two turn over evidence to a committee investigating the phone hacking scandal.

The committee wants the two Murdochs, along with former News of the World editor, and current chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks to testify.

"We're decided that these three were the most appropriate," said John Whittingdale, chairman of the culture, media and sport committee. "If we wanted to talk to others then we might consider that in the future. Murdoch was the chairman of News International in this country until very recently. Rebekah Brooks is the chief executive. They are the people who are directly responsible."