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Protesters and New Allegations of Hacking Greet Murdochs at News Corp Annual Meeting

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch looks down as he leaves the One Aldwych Hotel surrounded by his personal security team to speak with reporters after meeting with the family of murdered school girl Milly Dowler on July 15, 2011 in London, England.
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News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch looks down as he leaves the One Aldwych Hotel surrounded by his personal security team to speak with reporters after meeting with the family of murdered school girl Milly Dowler on July 15, 2011 in London, England.

Rupert Murdoch has another headache on his hands - new allegations of hacking on top of shareholders advocating for his ousting.

Murdoch kicked off the meeting with glowing comments about the state of the company, saying that the company's "in good shape to prosper."

But it seems company hasn't yet put the hacking scandal behind it.

Protesters and shareholders are out in force today at the News Corp annual meeting, underway right now at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, where I'm reporting from today. About 300 shareholders gathered to voice concern about the Murdoch family's stranglehold of control on the board vote on the re-election of directors. Meanwhile outside over 100 protesters shouted and carried signs attacking the "Murdoch Mafia."

The big bombshell in the meeting came from Tom Watson, the British member of parliament who spearheaded the UK's investigation into the phone hacking scandal. He said Murdoch's papers have been involved in hacking into computers as well and asked Murdoch flat-out if he knew about any computer hacking.

Murdoch responded, "I am not aware of any of that" and said that if Watson has information, he should let them know.

Other shareholders spoke, advocating for an independent board, many saying Murdoch should be ousted. One complained about Murdoch's compensation — the company responding that it's tied to company performance and in line with Murdoch's peers.

Votes were cast and the results will be posted online later. Shareholders didn't get a chance to accost Murdoch after the meeting — he was quickly ushered out.

The Murdoch family controls 40% of votes with ally Saudi Prince Alwaleed controlling another 7%, so it's unlikely that today's vote will result in Murdoch and his sons being ousted. But depending on how the votes come in, it could precipitate real change in pushing for a more independent board.

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