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Illiquid Sky

THE MURDOCH family bid to extend their control over larger swathes of the British media was approved by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt on 3 March. A consultation on the decision closes at noon on 21 March - follow the link below if you wish to contribute.

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Tony Lennon, immediate past president of broadcasting union BECTU, speaks to a protest to which the NUJ called members outside the Department of Culture, Media & Sport on 3 March.

NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: "This decision is bad news for democracy and media plurality. The reverberations will be felt across the entire media and political landscape. Previous undertakings given by Rupert Murdoch have proved toothless and illusory. Today's whitewash will prove no different.

"Jeremy Hunt's refusal to refer the bid to the Competition Commission confirms he prefers to act in the interests of News Corps rather than the British public."

The Murdoch clan have promised to spin Sky News off as a separate company, and not to increase their holding in it for 10 years. Which is a very long time in politics, but not long in empire-building: especially when many details remain to be clarified of how the news division, which is currently reported to be loss-making (on the books), will be financed.

The issue of Sky's growing dominance of non-news broadcasting appears not to have been addressed. Current projections have Sky's income exceeding the BBC licence fee within a very few years.

© Guy Smallman
Members of BECTU and the National Union of Journalists at a joint meeting on the Sky scenario at the House of Commons on 12 January

Last modified: 3 Mar 2011 - © 2011 contributors
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