Mitchell Szczepanczyk
Steve Macek
By Steve Macek and Mitchell Szczepanczyk

The British tabloid, News of the World, owned by conservative media-mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has been implicated since 2005 in intercepting voicemails of celebrities and politicians. But recently the newspaper has been swept up in explosive new allegations that its staff also intercepted voicemails of victims of the July 7, 2005, London bombing, of relatives of deceased British soldiers, and of a 13-year-old murdered girl.

Ramifications snowballed. Within a week of the new allegations, Murdoch closed News of the World after 168 years of operation, firing the paper's 200 employees. A class-action lawsuit filed in March against Murdoch about lax oversight was quickly amended to include the new allegations, and News Corp.’s stock lost $10 billion in value in the scandal’s first two weeks. The company's top U.K. executive, Rebekah Brooks, has tendered her resignation, and the scandal derailed an attempt by Murdoch to secure majority control of BSkyB, Britain's largest satellite broadcaster. The scandal has also impacted the head of Scotland Yard, who resigned once ties between News of the World and Scotland Yard became known.

But the Murdoch media empire extends across the world and the scandal may well have repercussions on this side of the Atlantic. News of the World is alleged to have paid a New York police officer to secure voicemails of victims of the 9/11 attacks, and the FBI has apparently opened an investigation. What's more, the editor of Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal who served as the editor at News of the World during the time of voicemail intercepts has also resigned in disgrace.

Clearly, Murdoch must face accountability for crimes committed under his watch, and one way the U.S. government could hold him accountable would be to repeal News Corp's TV broadcast licenses.

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