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UK: Politicians call for Ofcom Murdoch enquiry

 |  February 12, 2017

A group of UK cross-party politicians has called for Ofcom to launch a review into 21stCentury Fox CEO James Murdoch’s suitability to hold a UK broadcasting licence. The move comes in the wake of Fox’s proposed £11.7 billion bid for the 61% of international pay TV group Sky that it does not already own.

The group, led by former Labour leader Ed Miliband, has written a letter to Ofcom CEO Sharon White calling for the regulator to carry out a test of whether Murdoch is a ‘fit and proper’ person to hold a broadcast licence.

Ofcom carried out a test of whether Sky should hold a broadcast licence in 2011 at the height of the phone-hacking scandal that scuppered the bid by News to take control of BSkyB, as the pay TV operator then was.

While Sky was cleared, the regulator criticised Murdoch. It fell short, however, of stating that he was not a fit and proper person to hold a broadcast licence.

Murdoch resigned as chairman of the newspaper publishing arm of News Corp, but retained his responsibility for global television, including the 39% stake in BSkyB, at the time.

The letter to Ofcom has been signed by Vince Cable, business secretary at the time of News Corp’s bid, Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi, Labour peer Charles Falconer and cross-bench peer Onora O’Neill as well as Miliband. It argues that Murdoch’s involvement as chairman of Sky amounts to a “material change in circumstances” that warrant an investigation.

Full Content: Financial Times

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