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Update: According to reports, U.K. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley will refer the Murdoch takeover bid of Sky to British media regulator Ofcom “to investigate potential public interest issues on two grounds”:
Ofcom will look at whether Fox’s takeover will raise issues of UK media plurality and concentration in Murdoch’s control. The deal will give him full control of Sky News, as well as the Times, Sunday Times and Sun newspapers and the radio group TalkSport, through a separate company News Corp.
The second issue is whether Fox is committed to the required editorial standards, such as accuracy and impartial news coverage.
In parliament, Tom Watson, shadow culture secretary, questioned whether Bradley’s referral on broadcasting standards grounds would give Ofcom the power to investigate issues including phone hacking and corporate governance failures
Bradley said: “None of the representations [made by Fox] have led me to dismiss the concerns I have regarding the two public interest grounds I previously specified.”
Original Post: Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is currently trying to take full control of the United Kingdom satellite broadcasting company Sky -- which oversees Sky News. Such a move would increase media consolidation in the U.K., and it raises concerns that the Murdochs could seek to turn Sky News into a right-wing propaganda outlet like Fox News. In the coming days, U.K. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley will decide whether to refer Murdoch’s bid to the British media regulator Ofcom for review.
21st Century Fox already owns 39.1 percent of Sky. Murdoch abandoned a previous bid for full ownership in light of the investigation into mass hacking at his U.K.-based newspapers. Following an investigation, a parliamentary report found that Murdoch was “not a fit person” to run a major corporation, and that his son James (who at the time ran the parent company of News Of The World and The Sun and is now the CEO of 21st Century Fox) showed “wilful ignorance” of the industrial-scale hacking.
In September of 2016, it was reported that Fox News had engaged in similar tactics, hacking the phone of Media Matters reporter Joe Strupp.
Due to this lengthy history of Murdoch corruption and duplicity, Media Matters submitted a report in partnership with the global activism group Avaaz to the U.K. Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The report details for Secretary Bradley the dangers this bid for Sky would pose to the British public and to the British media landscape. The risk of Foxification is too great to simply rubber-stamp a Murdoch takeover.