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News Corp. announces new code of ethics. Will it make a difference?

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By contrast, Murdoch's son, James, told British Parliament on Tuesday that News Corp. does need to “think more forcefully and thoughtfully about our journalistic ethics.”

The real question, say media watchers, is what impact a new set of codes will actually have.

Media reports about the allegations against News Corp. suggest that the standards "can only go up,” says Elizabeth Mehren, journalism professor at Boston University, by e-mail.

Communicating these new standards is one step, she says, “but it will be interesting to see what kind of enforcement measures Murdoch and his staff are talking about, and how exactly they intend to put them into action.”

Requests for comment on the proposed News Corp. codes received no response from both The Wall Street journal and Fox News Channel, two News Corp.-owned media outlets. Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, has a publicly published code of ethics, one considered by many to be among the strictest in the industry. The company was taken over in 2007 by News Corp.

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