News Corp. scandal reaches U.S., Australia

The News Corp. phone-hacking scandal has reached U.S. shores, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation today opening an investigation into whether the company’s employees hacked or tried to hack into the private calls, voicemail messages and phone records of Sept. 11 victims and their families, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

Rupert Murdoch and his son James today also agreed to face the UK parliament’s media committee, after Prime Minister David Cameron said they should attend, according to Reuters.

In News Corp.’s home base of Australia, politicians are calling for greater media scrutiny in the wake of the scandal, The Australian reported.

“We have the biggest concentration of press ownership, and that’s by News [Limited, News Corp.’s Australian arm], in the democratic western world,” Senator Bob Brown said, according to The Australian, which is owned by News Ltd. “It troubles me that the concentration of ownership we see by News in Australia wouldn’t be allowed in the United States.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she is open to a media probe.

Murdoch’s media empire has been at the heart of a dramatic scandal in which employees at News International titles (the British newspaper arm of News Corp.) have been accused of hacking into the phones of celebrities, politicians, a murdered schoolgirl and dead soldiers. The scandal has caused tabloid News of the World to close, publishing its last edition Sunday, and for Murdoch to withdraw his bid for a full takeover of British broadcaster BSkyB.

Image: News Corp.’s Manhattan headquarters, via Mediaite

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