London: Perturbed over the phone hacking scandal that has rocked his global media empire, Rupert Murdoch has warned his staff that they will be held accountable for their actions if they betrayed the trust which the organization has reposed on them.
The media baron wrote in an email to his staff: “In regard to the issues at News International, we are taking urgent steps to address the past and ensure that serious problems never happen again.”
Murdoch further wrote that those who had betrayed the organization and not adhered to office policies in the past will be held accountable for their actions.
"Those who have betrayed our trust must be held accountable under the law. I have the utmost confidence that we will emerge a stronger company. It will take time for us to rebuild trust and confidence, but we are determined to live up to the expectations of our stockholders, customers, colleagues and partners,” he said.
The warning from the media czar comes a day after he appeared before the British parliamentary committee over the phone hacking scandal, where he said that he was not responsible for it.
Murdoch appeared by turns vague, truculent, sharp and concise as he spoke alongside his son and deputy, James, calling the parliamentary inquiry "the most humble day of my career" but refusing to take personal blame for the crisis that has swept from a tabloid newspaper through the top levels of Britain`s police and even to the prime minister`s office.
Murdoch, 80, said he was "shocked, appalled and ashamed" at the hacking of the phone of a murdered schoolgirl by his now-shuttered News of the World tabloid.
But he quibbled with a suggestion that criminality had been endemic at the tabloid and said he had seen no evidence that victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack and their relatives were targeted by any of his papers.
"Endemic is a very hard, a very wide ranging word," Murdoch said. "I also have to be very careful not to prejudice the course of justice that is taking place now."
Murdoch said he was not responsible for the hacking scandal, and denied his company was guilty of willful blindness over hacking.
He laid blame on "the people I trusted but they blame maybe the people that they trusted."
After more than two hours of testimony, a man in a plaid shirt appeared to run toward Murdoch with a pie plate full of foam, before being struck by the executive`s wife Wendi Deng. The foam hit Murdoch`s suit jacket.
The hearing resumed after a short break, with an apology from Murdoch loyalist, Rebekah Brooks, who apologized for the intercepts.
Two of Murdoch`s top executives, Brooks and Les Hinton, have resigned over the scandal — something Murdoch said was a matter of regret. The uproar has also led to the arrest of Brooks, sunk Murdoch`s dream of taking full control of lucrative satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting and raised questions about his control of his global media empire.
Murdoch said he lost sight of News of the World because it is such a small part of his company and spoke to the editor of the paper only around once a month, talking more with the editor of the Sunday Times in Britain and the Wall Street Journal in the US
The value of the Murdochs` News Corp. added around $2 billion while they were being grilled, trading 5.3 percent higher at $15.74. The stock has taken a battering over the past couple of weeks, shedding around 17 percent of its value, or around $8 billion.
James Murdoch apologized for the scandal, telling British lawmakers that "these actions do not live up to the standards our company aspires to."