A half dozen media reform and good government groups are petitioning Congress to hold hearings on the News Corp. phone hacking and bribery scandal that has rocked the media world in the United Kingdom.
Free Press, a media reform group based in D.C., sent a letter with 70,000 signatures to Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who has asked U.K. officials whether any phone hacking or bribery took place in the U.S. or involved Americans.
The Free Press letter calls on U.S. lawmakers to hold hearings and lead a "high-profile public discussion" about media behavior.
"The American people expect the media to uncover government and corporate corruption -- not contribute to it," Free Press President Craig Aaron wrote in the letter. "It is Congress' responsibility to investigate corruption and cover-ups of this scale, especially with regard to a company that has been granted numerous licenses to use the public airwaves -- an invaluable asset."
In a separate letter, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government and four other advocacy groups sent a letter to Rockefeller and other Commerce committee lawmakers in the House and Senate asking for hearings into the News Corp. scandal.
CREW has asked the Federal Communications Commission to revoke News Corp.'s broadcast licenses, and the groups say Congress should press the FCC to act.
"Congressional action is all the more imperative because FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has stated previously the FCC will not get involved in this matter, an unacceptable position given the magnitude of the misbehavior," the letter states.