TV piracy claims heap more pressure on Murdoch empire
By Georgina Prodhan and Sonali Paul
LONDON/MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Pressure is building in Britain and Australia for fresh probes into Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, already under siege over phone-hacking claims, after allegations that it ran a secret unit that promoted pirating of pay-TV rivals.
The Australian Financial Review on Wednesday alleged that News Corp had used a special unit, Operational Security, set up in the mid-1990s, to sabotage its competitors, reinforcing claims in a BBC Panorama documentary aired earlier this week.
"These are serious allegations, and any allegations of criminal activity should be referred to the AFP (Australian Federal police) for investigation," a spokeswoman for Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told Reuters.
Operational Security was a unit of News Corp's secure-encryption subsidiary NDS, which has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the Panorama claims.
News Corp, which this month sold NDS to Cisco Systems for $5 billion, said it accepted those assurances.
Its Australian arm, News Limited, denied the claims in the Australian Financial Review.
"The story is full of factual inaccuracies, flawed references, fanciful conclusions and baseless accusations which have been disproved in overseas courts," News Limited said.
NDS has faced several lawsuits over alleged piracy: one was dropped and the firm was largely cleared in the others, which News Limited highlighted in its statement. Continued...