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article imageMurdoch's News International faces new inquiry

By Lynn Herrmann     Aug 31, 2011 in Politics
London - Rupert Murdoch’s scandal-plagued News International is undergoing a new inquiry over its journalism standards, a probe which began several weeks ago and includes The Times of London newspaper.
Sources familiar with the probe say lawyers for News International are handling a broad inquiry into the company’s journalism practices, including personal interviews with certain journalists and reviewing email and financial records, Reuters reports.
Linklaters, the legal firm heading the investigation, is also looking for information which investigators for the US government might use as evidence of violating America’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a 1977 law pertaining to the bribery of foreign officials.
News Corp has confirmed the inquiry, although the corporation has released few details. “As is widely known, a review of journalistic standards is underway at News International with Linklaters assisting in the process,” a company spokesman said, according to Reuters.
The latest probe began “a number of weeks ago,” the spokesperson added, and is being controlled by News Corp. executive Joel Klein, a former assistant attorney general at the US Justice Department and independent director Viet Dinh, who has also worked at the justice department.
Included as well in the inquiry is Murdoch’s Management and Standards Committee, a unit formed by Murdoch in charge of corporate response to the phone hacking scandal and alleged illegal payments by some of the company’s journalists, a scandal which led to the demise in early July of Britain’s leading tabloid, News of the World.
At least a dozen News of the World executives and journalists have been arrested in the scandal, on allegations they gave illegal bribes to police for tips and intercepted mobile phone messages. To date, none have faced criminal charges
Since then, allegations of wrongdoing and misconduct have spread throughout the UK’s media institution. Publishers for the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror, competitors of Murdoch’s empire, have also announced separate probes of journalism procedures, the Globe and Mail reports.
Additional interviews with journalists from London’s The Sunday Times are set to begin in September, and another independent inquiry is set to begin next month as well, led by a British judge.
According to the Telegraph, the Royal Courts of Justice will hold an inquiry over the scandal. Murdoch, his son, James and leading senior politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron are likely to be questioned over political ties to News International.
In another blow to Murdoch’s empire resulting from the phone hacking scandal, Wireless Generation, the software education branch of News Corp, has had a $27 million contract with the state of New York returned over concerns of “vendor responsibility. “
“In light of the significant ongoing investigations and continuing revelations with respect to News Corp., we are returning the contract with Wireless Generation unapproved,” said Thomas DiNapoli, NY State Comptroller, The Telegraph reports.
The computer system was being billed as helping track pupil’s test scores, an issue teachers’ unions have protested, as a result of the hacking scandal.
Murdoch bought Wireless Generation last November for $360 million, and just weeks before the purchase, Klein, a former New York schools chief, joined News Corp.
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