James Murdoch steps down from News International amid hacking scandal

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 9:30 EDT
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Former News International CEO James Murdoch. Photo: Esther Dyson.
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James Murdoch, son of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has resigned his post as the top executive in charge of News International, the British publishing arm of News Corporation, according to The Associated Press.

Murdoch had been embroiled in an increasingly heated hacking scandal after several News International properties were revealed to have used private investigators to hack into the voice mails and emails of celebrities, lawmakers, the royal family, sports stars and crime victims, among others.

A federal investigation was also underway in the U.S. to determine whether News Corporation employees hacked into the voicemails of 9/11 victims, authorities said.

In a letter published Monday, Metropolitian Police Service Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers told members of parliament that the now-shuttered News of the World paper hacked the private communications of at least 18 lawmakers.

British Member of Parliament Chris Bryant said Wednesday morning that the cover-up stretched all the way to “the highest levels of the company, as we know, even up to James Murdoch.”

In a statement to the press, News Corporation said that Murdoch would be moved over to the company’s international television business, and that he remains News Corporation’s deputy chief operating officer.

“I deeply appreciate the dedication of my many talented colleagues at News International who work tirelessly to inform the public and am confident about the tremendous momentum we have achieved under the leadership of my father and Tom Mockridge,” he said in a prepared statement. ”With the successful launch of the Sun on Sunday and new business practices in place across all titles, News International is now in a strong position to build on its successes in the future. As deputy chief operating Officer, I look forward to expanding my commitment to News Corporation’s international television businesses and other key initiatives across the company.”

Les Hinton, the former News International CEO who took over Dow Jones, which publishes The Wall Street Journal, also resigned last July amid the same hacking scandal, becoming one of the company’s highest profile members to be ousted early on.

Correction: A prior version of this article said Murdoch had stepped down from News Corporation. He has stepped down from News International, but remains deputy chief operating officer of News Corporation.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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