CREW wants hearings on revoking News Corp.’s FCC licenses

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in Washington wants congressional hearings into whether News Corp. should be able to keep its Federal Communications Commission licenses for 27 television stations in the United States because of the U.K. hacking scandal.

CREW has called before for the government to investigate News Corp. The organization is now appealing to Congress to hold hearings on revoking the company’s licenses because FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has signaled that regulators won’t intervene.

The watchdog group is asking the House and Senate Commerce committees to look into whether News Corp.’s James and Rupert Murdoch meet the Federal Communications Commission’s character standards. The Murdochs’ media empire has been under fire after accusations that publications in the United Kingdom hacked into phones.

According to a news release from CREW, “significant character deficiencies may warrant disqualification from holding a license” as “broadcast frequencies may be used only by people of good ‘character,’ who will serve ‘the public interest,’ and speak with ‘candor.'”

“Given all the underhanded, devious and illegal activities of News. Corp, combined with James Murdoch’s failure to be candid when he testified before a parliamentary committee,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said, “it seems evident the Murdochs don’t meet the FCC’s character standard.”

“Congress should hold hearings on this issue and forward its findings to the FCC for further action against News Corp,” Sloan said. “Holding U.S. broadcast licenses is a privilege, not a right. The Murdochs — through a pattern of misconduct and deception – may have lost that right.” (Roseanne Barr: Rupert Murdoch tapped my phones)

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Justice Department is undergoing preliminary investigations into allegations that News Corp. was involved in bribery or hacking of Sept. 11 victims’ voicemails.