Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch: 'We have been working hard to put things right'

Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA

News Corporation has condemned the culture, media and sport select committee's report into phone hacking - describing some of its remarks as "unjustified and highly partisan".

In a statement issued last night, the company said the report strayed from an "analysis of the factual record" and turned into "commentary".

Rupert Murdoch also announced that News Corp's management and standards committee had completed its investigation into the Sun, Times and Sunday Times and had "found no evidence of illegal conduct", with the exception of the Times 'NightJack' email hacking incident.

News Corporation said in a statement: "Hard truths have emerged from the select committee report: that there was serious wrongdoing at the News of the World; that our response to the wrongdoing was too slow and too defensive; and that some of our employees misled the select committee in 2009.

"News Corporation regrets, however, that the select committee's analysis of the factual record was followed by some commentary that we, and indeed several members of the committee, consider unjustified and highly partisan. These remarks divided the members along party lines.

"We have already confronted and have acted on the failings documented in the report: we have conducted internal reviews of operations at newspapers in the United Kingdom and indeed around the world, far beyond anything asked of us by the Metropolitan police; we have volunteered any evidence of apparent wrongdoing to the authorities; and, we have instituted sweeping changes in our internal controls and our compliance programs on a worldwide basis, to help ensure that nothing like this ever happens again anywhere at News Corporation.

"As we move forward, our goal is to make certain that in every corner of the globe, our company acts in a manner of which our 50,000 employees and hundreds of thousands of shareholders can be justly proud."

One of the most contentious lines in the report said Rupert Murdoch "turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications" and that he was "not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company". The committee was divided on several amendments to the report - and the Murdoch line was passed by a majority of six to four.

Murdoch's email to staff reads: "There is no easy way around this, but I am proud to say that we have been working hard to put things right.

"We certainly should have acted more quickly and aggressively to uncover wrongdoing. We deeply regret what took place and have taken our share of responsibility for not rectifying the situation sooner.

"To that end, News Corporation continues to cooperate with all inquiries relating to voicemail interception and improper payments to public officials. Indeed, we have gone beyond what law enforcement authorities have asked of us, to ensure not only that we are in compliance with the law, but that we adhere to the highest ethical standards.

"I would also like to inform you today that the autonomous Management and Standards Committee, which was established by the Company to ensure full cooperation with all investigations, has completed its review of the Times and Sunday Times, assisted by outside counsel, Linklaters. The Management and Standards Committee has also completed its internal review into The Sun.

"We found no evidence of illegal conduct other than a single incident reported months ago [the Times 'Nightjack' email hacking incident], which led to the discipline of the relevant employee. News International, at the instigation of James, instituted important governance reforms.

Murdoch added that News Corporation was "implementing a more robust global compliance structure, with expanded education, customised controls, and group compliance officers across our businesses."

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