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Church of England May Divest
From News Corp.
BY TREVOR GRUNDY ©2011 Religion News Service
he Church of England said it may sell its $6 million share in News Corp., unless the global media organization conducts a full and open inquiry into a phone hacking scandal.
The church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) said it told News Corp. officials that the phone hacking charges swirling around its weekly tabloid, News of the World
, are "utterly reprehensible and unethical."
News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch closed the newspaper on July 10.
"No reply has been received yet," church spokesman Lou Henderson told ENInews
. The issue had been raised privately during discussions about finance and business on Tuesday during the church's General Synod in York, he said.
"While EIAG welcomes the decision to close the News of the World
, this action is not a sufficient response to the revelations of malpractice at the paper," EIAG said in a statement that was sent to Rupert Murdoch's office.
The Church of England's investment in the $32 billion News Corp is tiny. But the gesture is seen in business and church circles as significant. The church's total investment portfolio is about $8 billion.
"Church and lay people that know about it [the investment] are of a mind that we should disinvest," said the Rev. Jonathan Alderton-Ford, an Anglican vicar in southern England, "or we should be pressing through our ownership for change in the leadership of News Corporation."