Media companies call on MPs to oppose Sky buyout deal

Media companies have written a collective letter to MPs taking issue with Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision to allow NewsCorp to continue with its bid for the whole of BSkyB.

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NewsCorp has offered a remedy to the Culture Secretary to address worries about media plurality and avoid a referral to the Competition Commission.

The remedy takes the form of spinning off Sky News into a separate company using the name under license, together with funding agreement from 10 years.

However, a media alliance that includes Guardian Media Group, BT, Trinity Mirror, Associated Newspapers and Telegraph Media Group maintains that Rupert Murdoch’s company will have too much power over public opinion via its stable of newspapers combined with BSkyB.

The letter to MPs says that News Corp’s proposals “will not achieve their stated aim of protecting plurality in news media” and that the company will still exert influence over Sky News via the funding agreement.

The proposals to buttress Sky News’ independence are slammed as “weak and of the sort that News Corporation has previously being adept at undermining”.

The letter says “We do not believe that, given these concerns, and those of many others in civil society, the Culture Secretary should accept these undertakings, but should forward the matter to the Competition Commission for a full investigation.”

The public consultation period on News Corp’s ends on 21 March.

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