A powerful committee made up of members of Britain's Parliament issued a report Tuesday that it was misled by the News of the World, News International and a number of its executives over the phone-hacking scandal.
The Culture, Media and Sport select committee singled out former News of the World editor Colin Myler, ex-legal manager Tom Crone and Les Hinton, who worked for News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch for more than 50 years for criticism.
The report comes a day after Prime Minister David Cameron denied that a cabinet minister had broken rules in dealing with News Corp.
As for Murdoch, he received the backing Tuesday of former GE chairman Jack Welch:
“It is outlandish to suggest that Rupert Murdoch is anything less than perfectly fit to lead his organization as it moves forward," Welch said in a written statement. "Over our many years of dealings, I’ve seen nothing but integrity from him. He has never been anything but straightforward and above board in all his interactions with me and his courageous and innovative moves in business have always been a source of inspiration to me.”
News Corp. is the parent company of Fox News.
The select committee's report, in part, said: "Their instinct throughout, until it was too late, was to cover up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators."
It said it could now ask the House of Commons to decide whether there had been a contempt of Parliament and what the punishment should be.
"The behaviour of News International and certain witnesses in this affair demonstrated contempt for that system in the most blatant fashion."
Although Rupert Murdoch and his son James were not accused of misleading Parliament, the committee said it was "simply astonishing" that they only realised that the hacking was not confined to one "rogue reporter" in December 2010.
The report said they should "ultimately be prepared to take responsibility" for the "wilful blindness" of News International and News Corporation over the scandal.
Labour MP Tom Watson said: "In the opinion of the majority of the committee members Rupert Murdoch is not fit to run an international company like BSkyB."
However, several members of the committee made it clear that Watson's opinion was not unanimous.
News Corporation said in a statement that it was "carefully reviewing" the report.