Rupert Murdoch’s return to the Media Select Committee of the UK parliament’s House of Commons has been postponed in light of anticipated phone-hacking trials related to Murdoch’s news companies. Murdoch is being called back to the Committee to be questioned again about secretly recorded comments he made about bribes involving British newspapers. The postponement was advised by the News Corp chairman’s lawyers who want to wait until the criminal trials against News Corp publications News of the World and The Sun have concluded.
This pushes Murdoch’s return back until at least July 2014 and depending on appeals and other trials, he may not appear until 2015. The Committee agrees with the advice, concerned in their own right that the criminal proceedings could be prejudiced. The recordings were secretly obtained during a meeting between Murdoch and over 20 Sun journalists, now accused of unlawful payments to public officials to obtain stories.
The first of the criminal trials begins on 28 October and involves eight defendants. Among those are Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International (now News UK), and Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Murdoch is also gaining coverage for an initiative by News Corp’s education arm Amplify that is piloting use of tablets in schoolrooms. The company has invested hundreds of millions in the new venture and supporting educational games and technologies, including their own Amplify tablet.
The investment, highlighted in a Mashable Spotlight report, is based on the increasing prominence of digital technologies in classrooms and considering the American school system’s country-wide move to Common Core, a set of K-12 curriculum standards, the new venture’s timing may pay off.
Other forums will host the debate over this move toward tablet-lessons: Are they affordable for lower-income schools? How do schools protect against privacy and hacking? Do they improve students’ retention and learning? And so on. Meanwhile Amplify—whose CEO is a former New York City schools chancellor—is conducting pilot projects and focus groups in schools across the country.