The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

70,000 Petition Congress to Hold Hearings on News Corp. Corruption

Letter thanks Sen. Rockefeller for requesting information from British authorities investigating News Corp.’s criminal conduct


On Tuesday, Free Press sent a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller that praises the senator for requesting that British authorities share any information they have uncovered about violations of United States law during their investigation of News Corp. and its subsidiaries.

Accompanying the letter are nearly 70,000 signatures petitioning for congressional hearings into News Corp.'s potential breaches of U.S. law.

Below are excerpts from the letter from Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron. To view the full letter, go to:

"The U.S. Congress has an important role to play in investigating any alleged legal transgressions by News Corp. The public deserves to know about any questionable activities conducted by a company that currently controls so much of our nation's media. Please see the attached signatures of nearly 70,000 people asking for congressional hearings on potential crimes committed by News Corp. in the United States.

"British authorities are currently investigating News Corp. for various illegal practices, including phone hacking and bribery. That investigation and recent parliamentary hearings have revealed numerous incidents of News Corp.'s misconduct, as well as the great lengths its executives will go to to cover up illegal activities. While British officials have focused their investigation on criminal conduct in the United Kingdom, evidence suggests News Corp.'s culture of corruption is not limited to its U.K. media holdings.

"For example, the Department of Justice is investigating allegedly corrupt payments by News Corp. employees to public officials, a charge that may require prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Other reports indicate that a News Corp. subsidiary in the United States hacked into a competitor's computers. Additionally, News Corp. is accused of hacking into the phones of 9/11 victims.

"The American people expect the media to uncover government and corporate corruption -- not contribute to it. It is Congress' responsibility to investigate corruption and cover-ups of this scale, especially with regard to a company that has been granted numerous licenses to use the public airwaves -- an invaluable asset.

"Congress should lead a high-profile public discussion about what can happen when too much of the media is concentrated in too few hands. We do not yet know the full extent of News Corp.'s activities in the United States, but it is undeniable that this U.S. company has amassed a massive amount of media power and political influence in the U.S.

"Media companies and their executives are not above the law. Yet the potential for undiscovered and unanswered charges regarding New Corp.'s criminal conduct undermines the American people's confidence in the Fourth Estate and their faith in their government to hold powerful entities accountable when they abuse their power and privilege."

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what's actually happening in their communities.

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