phonehacking a jolt to succession to media empire
Last Updated : GMT 16:22:18
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Phone-hacking a jolt to succession to media empire

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Phone-hacking a jolt to succession to media empire

London - AFP

While the political firestorm rages, it is easy to overlook what may be the most important ramification of the News of the World affair: who will get to run the world\'s most powerful media empire. Rupert Murdoch recently turned 80 and until now his son, James, looked to be the heir apparent to a kingdom that spans the globe with a vast array of newspaper, film, TV and publishing interests. But the scandal now engulfing News Corp has the potential to overturn Rupert\'s best-laid succession plans. Right from the start, the phone-hacking crisis was handled carelessly; News International plotted an incoherent course from angry denial to cover-up as the company bought the silence of victims. As master of all of his father\'s interests outside North America since 2007, it is James who must bear some responsibility for the catastrophe. The 38 year old acknowledged as much when expressing his \"deep regret\" at the series of pay-outs to public figures whose privacy had been infringed. James went on to claim that he hadn\'t been \"in full possession of the facts\" when signing off on the payments, including an estimated £700,000 (Dh4.1 million) settlement with Gordon Taylor of the Professional Footballers\' Association. It was an admission that could and should worry News Corp investors. For the media giant, there will be a limited financial hit from closing the News of the World. Infinitely more significant is the potential impact on News Corp\'s bid to take full ownership of pay-TV giant BSkyB. Should the deal fall through because of the huge public outcry, it would be hard to see how James could lay any claim to his father\'s crown. On one level you could argue that Rupert has sacrificed one red-top to save another. But it may be the reputation of James, rather than Rebekah Brooks, the flame-haired News International boss and former News of the World editor, that Rupert is really attempting to salvage. The failure of Murdoch Jr. to tackle the phone-hacking allegations from the word go is the first serious blight on an otherwise effortless assent to the upper reaches of the News Corp firmament. And, with every day that News Corp and Sky share prices tumble, the prospect of him realising his grand ambitions slips further out of reach. From / Gulf News

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