Fox Television Stations wants the FCC to toss a petition to deny license renewals for its Washington, DC, and Baltimore stations, based on phone hacking allegations in the UK. The broadcaster claims the petition by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) falls well short of what the FCC requires to challenge license renewals.
News Corporation’s Fox Television Stations has told the FCC that a petition to strip the company of its licenses for WTTG and WDCA Washington, DC, and WUTB Baltimore is fatally flawed. The company wants the commission to toss out the petition from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) and grant the license renewals.
The response from Fox claims that the CREW petition is nothing more than a compilation of newspaper articles and documents compiled by authorities in the UK relating to the phone hacking investigation of News Corp. newspapers, which is ongoing. Lacking, Fox says, is any affidavit alleging facts about which CREW or any of its members has any personal knowledge.
“None of these materials forms an adequate basis for a petition to deny,” Fox says of the materials submitted by CREW.
“The Petition does not contain allegations that any of the Stations has failed to serve the public interest – indeed it makes no reference whatsoever to the Stations’ performances – nor does the Petitioner claim that Fox or any of the Stations has violated a single FCC rule or regulation,” the filing states.
Fox insists that it “does not mean to diminish the gravity” of the UK allegations, but notes that no entity owned by News Corp. has yet been found guilty of engaging in any misconduct. And it insists that the allegations against the UK newspapers would not meet the legal standard for the FCC to hold a different subsidiary of News Corp., Fox Television Stations, responsible for any wrongdoing.
The filing also proudly noted that the British broadcast regulator, Ofcom, just this month found British Sky Broadcasting Ltd., 40% owned by News Corp., as being “fit and proper” to be a UK broadcast licensee.
Fox Television Stations urged the FCC to dismiss the CREW petition and grant the license renewals for all three stations. WTTG is the company’s Fox outlet in DC, while WDCA and WUTB are MNT.