Murdoch heir to attend HK event

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 August, 2011, 12:00am


James Murdoch, embattled son of media mogul Rupert, will speak in Hong Kong next month at what has been termed a question-and-answer session - but it is uncertain whether he will be taking any tough questions like those he fielded from British politicians last month.

The chairman and chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia will speak at the Asia Media Summit in the Four Seasons Hotel on September 6.

Organisers Media Partners said yesterday that a pre-arranged list of questions was being drawn up to be asked by the company's executive director, Vivek Couto, who will moderate the 30-minute keynote session.

'Questions will be finalised nearer to the event,' a spokeswoman said. 'I am not sure if [Murdoch] will be taking questions from the floor.'

James Murdoch came under fire last month over claims by former executives of the News of the World that he misled British lawmakers about what and when he knew about the phone-hacking scandal that led to the tabloid's closure.

Organisers of the Hong Kong event have no plans at this stage for special security precautions to avoid embarrassing incidents like the one in which comedian and activist Jonnie Marbles threw shaving foam at Rupert Murdoch during the British parliamentary hearing.

'We have not been informed by his office that any special arrangements are needed, but there is still about a month to go, so closer to the date we will know more about those kinds of arrangements,' the spokeswoman said.

The 38-year-old Murdoch has in recent years been groomed as his father's heir apparent.

In May 2000, he moved to Hong Kong after he was appointed head of News Corp's Asian satellite service Star TV, which at the time was losing GBP100 million (HK$1.27 billion) a year. In 2002, it turned a small profit and was poised for growth, thanks to new channels and distribution deals with India, China and Taiwan. On 13 February, 2003, he became a director of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB and, later that year, its chief executive.

During his brief spell at Harvard University he studied film and puppet animation. He has called himself a professional cartoonist, having penned strips for the university's satirical magazine Lampoon - 'a job more to do with drinking than journalism', his father reportedly remarked.