Does Fox bid for Sky give Mur­doch too much power?

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

BRI­TAIN in­tends to sub­ject Ru­pert Mur­doch’s takeover of Euro­pean pay-TV group Sky to a lengthy in-depth in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter find­ing the $14.8 bil­lion (R192.18bn) deal risks giv­ing the me­dia mogul too much power over the news agenda.

Me­dia sec­re­tary Karen Bradley said she was per­suaded that 21st Cen­tury Fox’s bid could give the Mur­doch fam­ily too much in­flu­ence over the me­dia, af­ter reg­u­la­tor Of­com as­sessed the im­pact of the deal.

“The pro­posed en­tity would have the third largest to­tal reach of any news provider – lower only than the BBC and ITN – and would, uniquely, span news cov­er­age on tele­vi­sion, ra­dio, in news­pa­pers and on­line,” Bradley said.

Mur­doch, 86, and his fam­ily have long cov­eted full con­trol of Sky, de­spite the dam­ag­ing fail­ure of a pre­vi­ous at­tempt in 2011 when their Bri­tish news­pa­per busi­ness be­came em­broiled in a phone-hack­ing scan­dal which forced them to aban­don that bid.

A pub­lic in­quiry into the af­fair re­vealed deep ties be­tween Mur­doch and the po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment, mak­ing the re­newed bid po­ten­tially toxic for Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s gov­ern­ment which is fight­ing for sur­vival af­ter los­ing its ma­jor­ity.

Bradley had asked reg­u­la­tors to ex­am­ine whether Fox would have too much con­trol of the me­dia. – Reuters

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