BREAKING,-Murdoch-withdraws-bid-for-BskyB: News International has now entirely withdrawn its bid for 100 percent of Britain’s Biggest Broadcaster – BSkyB. Tenacious investigative journalism, political pressure, and immense people people exercised online and through our elected representatives have seen off this threat – the greatest threat to media plurality and political transparency in my lifetime.
Now keep pushing for Murdoch to be discredited and disarmed in US public life
After revelations that victims of 9/11 were targets of illegal phone hacking, the scandal that has rocked his Murdoch’s mendacious empire empire can no longer be contained in the UK: Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller has called for an official investigation into the company’s methods and activities:
In a written statement, Mr Rockefeller said he was concerned that hacking by News Corporation journalists may have extended to American targets, including victims of the 11 September attacks.
He did not present any evidence to support that claim, but called on the authorities to look into any possible wrong-doing.
“I encourage the appropriate agencies to investigate to ensure that Americans have not had their privacy violated,” he said.
“The reported hacking by News Corporation newspapers against a range of individuals – including children – is offensive and a serious breach of journalistic ethics. This raises serious questions about whether the company has broken US law.“
France Presse has just reported:
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, who called Tuesday for a formal probe into whether alleged improper behavior extended to US citizens, told reporters that his “bet” was that “we’ll find some criminal stuff.”
Asked whether he was saying he thought there would be evidence of criminal acts in the United States and whether he was referring to possible phone hacking, Rockefeller replied “yeah” each time.
Gordon Brown in the House of Commons has just called News International “a criminal-media nexus“.
In other developments today:
* HOUSE OF COMMONS VOTE TODAY: In an unprecedented move, a motion by the Labour Party leader Ed Miliband that opposes Murdoch’s acquisition of the satellite TV monopoly BSkyB, will be supported by all three political parties in the House of Commons this afternoon – though whether it has any force of law is another matter.
Join the liveblog at Labourlist around 10.30 EST, where I write under my real name (visible in my twitter link)
Here’s a video from the Previous Prime Minister’s Questions at 12.30 pm BST.
The debate is also carried on Parliament Live
* COVERUP AND POLICE COMPLICITY: It’s now clear that News International, whose Chief Executive Les Hinton is now publisher of the Wall Street Journal and the Dow Jones, lied to Parliament, obstructed the initial police investigation in 2007, and hacked investigators phones. Yesterday’s Select Committee re-interviewed the Senior Police Officers involved in the initial investigation:
It’s also clear that News International continue to obstruct the police investigation even now through selective leaking and document destruction.
* US RELEVANCE: MEDIA AND MONOPOLY: In what the New York Times has called ‘a kind of British Spring’, politicians, celebrities, journalists and thinkers are finally speaking out against 30 years of tyranny by News International. At the heart of this are large reaching issues about the Media, Monopoly Power, Money and Democracy – even more relevant in the US. As Will Hutton says:
Which is why Ed Miliband must spell out that the issue goes beyond party. This is about Britain’s capacity to sustain a good capitalism, hawklike about monopolists, and a good democracy – hawklike about private, insider lobbying. The takeover of BSkyB could scarcely raise more profound issues. It is about whether Britain is prepared to sustain a state within a state – a proposition to which all of us, of whatever political hue, must surely say no. Which will then require the creation of whatever processes that are needed to make that “no” an ongoing reality. We are going to have to start thinking harder about capitalism, ownership, the media and democracy. The thinking starts now – and Britain will be the healthier for it.
I’ll try to update this diary as news comes in.
PREVIOUS DIARY: Big Kudos and Apologies to Ericlewis0 whose original diary on this I missed this morning. PLEASE REC IT UP. Happy to defer to his diary, or any others to keep the pressure on News corp.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: More suggestions welcome, but please join the Twitter and Facebook campaigns to Boycott Newscorp products: @BoycottMurdoch. Avaaz is also organising an online petition – Stop the Murdoch Mafia – which has 80,000 signatories, including Australian and Irish respondents. Of course feel free to write or call you US representatives and senators to back this investigation suggested by Senator Rockefeller. Please pass on any links.