Murdoch ready to face hostile newsroom – FT.com
Mr Murdoch faces a challenging task, to both reassure The Sun about its importance to News Corp and make clear that a company that last summer stood accused of thwarting investigators has no choice but to co-operate if it is not to face more threats to its existence. News Corp’s response to the scandal is now being dictated by US lawyers. Mr Klein and Mr Dinh are both former US assistant attorneys general and they are supported by high-powered law firms on both sides of the Atlantic.
Their objective is to stop the scandal from spreading to more profitable assets, ranging from BSkyB in the UK, where News Corp is subject to a “fit and proper owner” test, to its Fox network, cable channels and film studio in the US.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have opened inquiries into News Corp. Independent lawyers say journalists’ payments to public officials for stories could expose it to US prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
On Thursday, a Wall Street Journal editorial criticised the justice department’s “creative prosecutions” under the FCPA. “If Justice tries to portray payments made as part of traditional newsgathering as criminal acts, the list of felons won’t stop at the tabloids,” it said.
“This for Murdoch is no longer about journalism. This is about defending News Corp,” Andrew Neil, a former Sunday Times editor, told CNN, saying his former boss would “sacrifice journalists and journalism in London” if needed to save his company in the US.