'We need honesty and integrity...' Was this Liz Murdoch's pitch to take over?

 

Elisabeth Murdoch tonight presented herself as a champion of “honesty”, “integrity” and moral “purpose” within the famous Murdoch media dynasty which has seen its reputation besmirched by the phone hacking scandal.

Delivering the prestigious James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture to the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Ms Murdoch, 44, distanced herself from her younger brother James, 39, who has been embroiled in the hacking scandal. She disputed his words in an aggressive speech to the same audience three years ago.

James, who was seen as the heir to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire, had argued that the only guarantor of independence was profit but Elisabeth said he had been wrong. "Profit without purpose is a recipe for disaster," she said.

Ms Murdoch's speech will be taken as an indication that she is positioning herself within the News Corp empire as the Murdoch sibling best placed to carry forward her father's work. The British-based television company Shine Group, which she founded and leads, is now a part of News Corp, after her father's company paid £415 million for the business last year.

Discussing News Corp's recent problems she said they had come about because "some behaviours fell so far short of its values".

She said: "Personally, I believe one of the biggest lessons of the past year has been the need for any organisation to discuss, affirm, and institutionalise a rigorous set of values based on an explicit statement of purpose."

Ms Murdoch addressed the Leveson inquiry that has resulted from the hacking affair and noted that there has been "an unsettling dearth of integrity across so many of our institutions" which, she regretted, now threatens the freedom of the press.

She talked of the continued "scrutiny into our media standards and the sometimes self-serving relationships between the great institutional pillars of our society be they police, politics, media or banking".

Ms Murdoch concluded her speech by quoting the words of her father Rupert from his own MacTaggart Lecture a generation earlier, in 1989, when the mogul had talked of "freeing" broadcasting from the bureaucrats and "placing it in the hands of those who should control it - the people".

Ms Murdoch said she had learned that "vision" from her father over the family breakfast table and "even back then, I understood that we were in pursuit of a greater good - a belief in better". Those last four words mirrored the catchline of BSkyB - from which James stood down as chairman in April amid ongoing criticism of his handling of the phone hacking affair while in charge of News International, his father's British newspaper stable.

As chairman of BSkyB, James had attacked the "chilling" ambition of the BBC. His sister, who is a far more popular figure within the British television industry, took a different approach, saying she was a "current supporter" of the BBC licence fee and praising the track record of the departing Director-General Mark Thompson - James's great strategic foe - for his "vision and leadership" in positioning the organisation for future challenges in media.

Using subtler language than her confrontational brother she identified Google's YouTube and other new media platforms including Amazon, Netflix and Twitter as the threats to the established television industry and tactfully appealed to broadcasters and producers to work together for a common good. "Ours is a business of mutuality - all of the tribes gathered at this festival are reliant on the health of each other," she said.

Addressing an audience where liberal values are usually to the fore, she quoted Nelson Mandela, Aldous Huxley, Alan Bennett and Voltaire. She mildly berated the festival organisers for not having appointed a woman to give the MacTaggart since 1995.

And though she was born in Sydney and grew up mostly in New York, watching shows such as "The Brady Bunch" and "I Love Lucy", she spoke of "our great British producers" and took every chance to bathe in post-Olympics euphoria. "As our Olympians have inspired a generation so should we be inspired by our forefathers. We can be a new Britain born out of the best of the old Britain," she said.

But most of all she seemed to want to take on the baton of her own father, and to help improve his company's reputation. "A great creative organisation is like any successful community," she said. "It's a place of honesty, integrity, and an environment where curiosity and enthusiasm are the norm. It's a place that demands personal accountability, collective responsibility and true self-determination."

What she said...and what she meant

“James…left something out: the reason his statement sat so uncomfortably is that profit without purpose is a recipe for disaster.”

I am not James.

“There has been such an unsettling dearth of integrity across so many of our institutions.”

The hacking scandal was nothing to do with me.

“We would all do well to remember Voltaire’s – or even Spiderman’s - caution that ‘With great power comes great responsibility’.”

I am one of you, an intellectual with a good grasp of popular culture, and I value a moral compass before everything else, including the bottom line.

“Ours is a business of mutuality – all of the tribes gathered at this festival are reliant on the health of each other.”

I am the friendly face of the Murdoch clan.

“My dad had the vision, the will and the sense of purpose to challenge the old world order.”

Dad’s still my true hero.

“My true passion lay in the power of television to form human connections. This was my purpose.”

I may have sold my company Shine to my father’s News Corp for £415m but I’m still a programme maker at heart. 

“Platforms such as Amazon, Netflix, Zeebox, Pinterest, Twitter and Tumblr with their ubiquitous and intelligent services are all coming after our audience relationships.”

I have a strong intuition of the future of media and am ready to be a big player for News Corp on the global stage.

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
Arts and Entertainment
James Dean on the set of 'Rebel without a Cause', 1955
photographyHe brought documentary photojournalism to Tinseltown, and in doing so, changed the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Account Manager / Sales Account Manager / Recruitment Account Manager

£25k Basic (DOE) – (£30k year 1 OTE) : Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright A...

Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

£20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

Trend Writer / Copywriter

£25 - 30k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Trend Writer / Copywriter: Retail, Design and...

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing