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News Corp shareholder says 'Murdoch can't ignore calls for sweeping change in media firm'

February 19, 2012 - London

News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch can no longer ignore calls for sweeping change in his embattled media empire following the recent arrests of The Sun's journalists over charges of making illegal payments to police officials, a leading US shareholder has warned.

Murdoch recently travelled to London and visited The Sun's offices after five of its senior journalists, including the deputy editor, were arrested on February 11, bringing to nine the number of journalists arrested at the British tabloid.

"The arrests definitely escalate the pressure to make changes," The Telegraph quoted Anne Sheehan, head of corporate governance at California State Teachers' Retirement System (Calstrs), as saying.

"The problem is spreading. They've not isolated it as they thought they had," Sheehan added.

Calstrs, which owns over 6 million shares in the US-based media firm, was one of several News Corp shareholders that tried to vote off News Corp board members at the company's annual shareholder meeting in Los Angeles last October.

"They've heard us but we're looking forward to seeing action. The sooner, the better," Sheehan said.

A series of scandals have rocked News Corp since it emerged last July that journalists at the now defunct tabloid News of The World had hacked the voice mails of British teenage murder victim Milly Dowler.

Murdoch has since been battling to contain a crisis that threatened to unravel a media and entertainment empire that now makes most of its money from its lucrative cable TV networks in the US.


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