BSkyB ruled a ‘fit and proper’ broadcaster

Regulator Ofcom has declared BSkyB “a fit and proper organisation” to hold a UK broadcast licence following an investigation in the wake of the News International newspaper hacking scandal.


News Corp, owner of The Sun and now defunct News of the World, the newspapers at the heart of the current phone hacking investigations, also owns a 39 per cent stake in BSkyB.

Ofcom began its assessment of Sky in July last year and is now satisfied the company should retain its broadcast licence as there is no evidence “that Sky was directly or indirectly involved in any wrongdoing either admitted or alleged to have taken place at the News of the World or The Sun.”

The investigation examined the “conduct and character” of News Corp chairman and CEO Rupert and James Murdoch because of their potential influence over Sky. During the period running up to the investigation James was a director of both News Corp and Sky.

Ofcom’s report criticises James and says his conduct “repeatedly fell short of the conduct to be expected of him as a [News Group Newspapers] chief executive officer and chairman.” However, it said that there was no evidence he deliberately engaged in any wrongdoing.

He stepped down as executive chairman of News International in February this year and as chairman of Sky in April. He is still a non-executive director.

The regulator does say if further relevant evidence becomes available in the future it will resume its review.

Sky has admitted to some instances of email hacking that breach the Broadcasting Code separate from any newspaper hacking allegations and Ofcom is considering what action to take.

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