Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation, is "not a fit person" to exercise stewardship of a major international company, and should take responsibility for a culture of illegal phone hacking, a influential committee of MPs said on Tuesday.
The House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee also said that James Murdoch showed "wilful ignorance" about the scale of phone-hacking that first emerged at Murdoch's News of the World newspaper.
The powerful parliamentary committee focused on the failings of the 81-year-old News Corp chief executive, his son James and a company which they said had showed "wilful blindness" about the scale of phone-hacking that first emerged at Murdoch's News of the World newspaper.
The cross-party committee, which approved the report by a majority of six to four, scolded News Corp for misleading parliament and trying to cover up illegal phone hacking. It said there had been huge failures in corporate governance which raised questions about the competence of Rupert's son, James.
"News International and its parent News Corporation exhibited wilful blindness, for which the companies' directors -including Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch - should ultimately take responsibility," it said.
"Their instinct throughout, until it was too late, was to cover up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators," the MPs said in an 85 page report.
"Even if there were a 'don't ask, don't tell' culture at News International, the whole affair demonstrates huge failings of corporate governance at the company and its parent, News Corporation."
The report may force James Murdoch, once heir apparent to the media empire, to sever his last ties with Britain's biggest satellite TV company BSkyB, which News Corp had sought to take over before the scandal.
In the week of local elections, the report could also embarrass Prime Minister David Cameron, who has acknowledged that Britain's political elite has been dazzled and charmed by the Murdoch's media clout for years.
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