LOS ANGELES — News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch told angry shareholders on Friday that there was “simply no excuse” for the phone-hacking scandal in Britain and vowed to “put things right.”
“We cannot just be a profitable company, we must be a principled company,” Murdoch said in his opening remarks to the annual meeting of shareholders of News Corp.
“We must admit to and confront our mistakes and establish a rigorous and vigorous procedure to put things right,” Murdoch told the meeting held in a movie theater at News Corp.-owned Fox Studios in Los Angeles.
“There is simply no excuse for such unethical behavior,” he said of the hacking of cellphones by journalists from the now-shuttered British tabloid weekly The News of the World.
“These are real issues that we must confront and are confronting,” Murdoch said. “If we hold others to account we must hold ourselves to account.”
“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.
Shortly before Murdoch’s appearance, News Corp.’s British newspaper arm News International confirmed it would pay £2 million to the family of a murdered girl at the heart of the phone-hacking scandal.
In a joint statement with the family of Milly Dowler, Murdoch said he would personally donate £1 million ($1.6 million, 1.15 million euros) to charities chosen by the famil.
“The behavior 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,” Murdoch said.
“I also hope that through the personal donation something positive can be done in memory of their daughter.”
Reports of the settlement by News International first emerged in September but had not been confirmed by the firm.
The 168-year-old News of the World was shut down after a public outcry when it emerged a private investigator working for the paper hacked into Milly Dowler’s voicemail after she went missing in 2002.