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Murdoch Resigns From British Satellite TV Giant

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

After many months of bad new and devastation to its stock price, the British satellite TV giant BSkyB will try to move forward under new leadership.

NPR's Philip Reeves says this follows the resignation yesterday of its chairman, Rupert Murdoch's son, James.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: James Murdoch announced his departure, acknowledging he's worried his role in Britain's phone-hacking scandal was threatening to hurt BSkyB. He doesn't want to be a lightening rod in a storm. That storm shows no sign of passing any time soon.

The scandal that began within the now-closed News of the World tabloid paper has steadily widened to other properties within his father's News Corp empire.

Barely a week passes without fresh revelations of bribery, or computer hacking or news of still more arrests by Scotland Yard, who are pursuing several major investigations. There'll be more negative headlines soon, when a parliamentary committee publishes the results of its phone-hacking inquiry.

Now it's also being reported that James and Rupert may appear before the public inquiry that's investigating British media ethics and the murky relationship between the press, police and government. That'd mean more difficult questions about their conduct.

News Corps has a controlling stake in BSkyB of nearly 40 percent. Business analysts say James Murdoch was widely seen as an effective chairman of the hugely lucrative satellite company. But the scandal that's engulfed his father's media empire - of which he was once heir apparent - refuses to go away.

James Murdoch also recently resigned as chair of News International - that's the News Corps division that runs its British newspapers - though he remains News Corps deputy chief operating officer.

Observers say the big question now is how much his retreat from Britain will insulate him from the storm.

Philip Reeves, NPR News, London. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering South America. Previously, he served as NPR's correspondent covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.
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