A coalition of concerned citizens, labor organizations, advocacy groups and OccupyLA protesters demonstrated outside News Corporation's annual shareholders' meeting on Friday, Oct. 21.
While we come from different backgrounds and have different interests we are joining together in Los Angeles because we believe that no single company should be allowed to own an overwhelming share of the media in our country.
This is the list of grievances and demands we delivered to a News Corp. representative during the shareholder meeting:
- Under Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. has accumulated toxic levels of media power -- including cable channels, news networks, newspapers, television stations, movie studios and more. News Corp. leverages its news and entertainment empire to bully regulators, elect compliant politicians, gain regulatory favors and undermine the public interest.
- News Corp. has shown itself to be a bad corporate citizen across the board. It is already under criminal investigation in the U.K. for allegedly hacking into the phones of thousands of people. In the U.S., the FBI and Department of Justice are investigating the company for allegedly hacking into the phones of Sept. 11 victims and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in regard to bribes reportedly paid to British authorities to protect its business interests.
- News Corp. has paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in "hush money" to silence claims that a subsidiary used illegal and extortionate tactics -- including hacking into a rival's computer systems -- to force competitors out of business.
- News Corp. has dodged responsibility to pay its fair share of taxes to the U.S. Treasury by setting up 136 front operations in countries defined as "corporate tax havens," including the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Panama.
- News Corp.'s Fox News Channel has a long history of anti-immigrant rhetoric and biased reporting on issues that are important to communities of color in the U.S.
This habitual misconduct tells a story of a rogue corporation that has no business dictating government policy or polluting the democratic process in America.
The loose affiliation of groups that will protest on Friday -- including Common Cause, OccupyLA, Free Press, Avaaz.org, Good Jobs LA, Brave New Foundation, National Lawyers Guild and others -- demand that News Corp. shareholders make unscrupulous company executives and the board accountable to U.S. law and the public interest.
We demand that Congress immediately convene an investigation and hearings into the many serious allegations of illegal acts by News Corp.
We demand that the FCC review all broadcast licenses granted to News Corp. to determine whether they meet the agency's "character qualifications." If investigations result in criminal convictions, News Corp. should forfeit its licenses to use our airwaves.
We demand that shareholders pledge that News Corp. will not make any more political contributions during the 2012 election cycle. The company's special interest donations have already impaired government's ability to address our nation's most critical problems. News Corp. must cease funding practices that harm the public interest.