July 21, 2011 / 3:03 AM / in 6 years

Dow Jones panel says found no U.S. wrongdoing

3 Min Read

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Dow Jones Special Committee, responding to a letter from two U.S. senators, said it had found at News Corp's Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires no sign of journalistic wrongdoing like the phone-hacking scandal at its British newspapers.

"Our focus from the outset has been on insuring that the highest standards of journalistic ethics are being met at the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires," Tom Bray, chair of the special committee, wrote in a statement responding late on Wednesday to a letter earlier in the day from Senators Barbara Boxer and Jay Rockefeller.

"In conversations with countless present and former Dow Jones employees we have found absolutely no sign of journalistic misconduct such as is at the heart of the scandal in London," Bray wrote.

Boxer and Rockefeller, both Democrats who a week ago urged U.S. officials to investigate whether News Corp broke a law banning bribes to foreign officials, were particularly interested, in their latest letter, in information on Les Hinton -- the former Dow Jones chief executive and publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

Hinton stepped down from his position in response to the scandal, ending a 52-year career with News Corp. He had previously been chairman of News International, whose now defunct weekly tabloid News of the World is at the center of the phone hacking uproar.

But the special committee statement said: "We did not investigate former Dow Jones Chairman Les Hinton's activities in London, which were investigated there in the past and are the subject of renewed focus now."

The Dow Jones special committee was created in 2007 to help ease concerns of the Bancroft family, who owned Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, before it was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The five-member watchdog group was set up to police the editorial independence and integrity of the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones under News Corp's ownership.

News Corp has so far been able to keep the impact of the phone hacking scandal mainly to the UK, and away from the United States, where News Corp is headquartered.

In their letter, the senators asked whether the Dow Jones Special Committee plans to conduct a broader investigation that includes an examination of whether former senior Journal or Dow Jones executives had knowledge or a role in alleged criminal activity at News Corp publications.

Bray said The Dow Jones Special Committee will respond further to the senators' letter in "due course."

Reuters is a competitor of Dow Jones Newswires, the financial news agency that News Corp acquired along with the Wall Street Journal in 2007.

Reporting by Yinka Adegoke and Jennifer Saba; additional reporting by Himank Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Tim Dobbyn, Gary Hill

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