FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 18, 2011
Rachel Rouse 020 7881 7790/07584 667 769
London -- Almost 60% of Brits believe that Rupert Murdoch has too much influence in British politics, according to a new poll. And 64% believe that a merger with BSkyB will hand News Corporation and Rupert Murdoch too much power over the media.
These are two of the damning findings in a new You Gov poll, commissioned by Media Matters for America in conjunction with Avaaz, just two weeks after Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he would allow the media mogul to pursue a proposed merger between his company News Corporation and the UK broadcasting firm BSkyB.
News Corp currently has a 39% stake in BSkyB. Last week, Conservative Secretary of State Mr Hunt announced that, contrary to advice from the regulators Ofcom, he would not be referring News Corp's bid to buy out the rest of the shares in the UK broadcasting company to the Competition Commission. Instead, he said he would accept undertakings in lieu from the global media empire, subject to a brief consultation period, to make Sky News independent and reduce its stake in the channel to 39%.
The online survey of more than 2,000 adults found that just seven per cent of Brits believe that Mr Hunt made the right decision not to refer the media giant to the Competition Commission. Furthermore, 41% stated that they oppose the proposed deal, with just 5% expressing support.
And in a signal to David Cameron that failing to properly scrutinise the proposed merger could have long-term consequences for the Government, more than 20% of respondents said that they believe this decision may affect how they vote at the next General Election.
The deadline for submissions to the consultation is midday on Monday 21st March. Media Matters is urging people to send a message to Jeremy Hunt asking him to protect hte public interest in this matter.
Ilyse Hogue, Senior Advisor at Media Matters, said:
"This poll confirms what we have been hearing from our British counterparts: that there's genuine concern with Rupert Murdoch's growing power over the media and influence on UK politics. Our experience in the states with NewsCorp media has underscored that that alarm is justified. Giving him the opportunity to expand his international media empire will have real impact and set a dangerous precedent for future expansion of News Corporation.
"We sincerely hope that Jeremy Hunt will listen to the British people expressing their discomfort and safeguard not just the UK but the international community from Murdoch's continuing efforts to increase his hold on the world's media."
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,295 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th and 17th March 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.
Launched in May 2004, Media Matters for America put in place, for the first time, the means to systematically monitor a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation -- news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda -- every day, in real time.
Using the website mediamatters.org as the principal vehicle for disseminating research and information, Media Matters posts rapid-response items as well as longer research and analytic reports documenting conservative misinformation throughout the media. Additionally, Media Matters works daily to notify activists, journalists, pundits, and the general public about instances of misinformation, providing them with the resources to rebut false claims and to take direct action against offending media institutions.