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Murdoch and Ofcom

by ceebs Fri Sep 21st, 2012 at 03:18:36 AM EST

For several months we have been waiting for a report from OFCOM the UK broadcasting regulator and it has rolled out this morning. Now it was a long shot that the Murdoch organisation might be staked through the heart by the UK regulator, but the  publication is interesting

BBC News - Ofcom says BSkyB 'fit and proper' but James Murdoch criticised

UK media regulator Ofcom has concluded that BSkyB is a "fit and proper" company to hold a broadcasting licence.

Ofcom was investigating the broadcaster in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that engulfed Rupert Murdoch's media empire, which owns 39% of BSkyB.

However, Ofcom has criticised former BSkyB chairman James Murdoch, Rupert's son, for his role in the scandal.

Ofcom said his actions "repeatedly fell short of the conduct" expected of a chief executive officer and chairman.

Now Sky is trying to sell this as a complete vindication,  with its statement  
BBC News - Ofcom says BSkyB 'fit and proper' but James Murdoch criticised

"Ofcom is right to conclude that Sky is a fit and proper broadcaster. As a company, we are committed to high standards of governance and we take our regulatory obligations extremely seriously."

The report however contains a few bombs lobbed casually at the Murdochs.

Firstly paragraph 18

Nor, in our view, can it reasonably be concluded on the available documentary evidence
that there was an awareness on James Murdoch's part either that evidence existed
indicating the involvement in unlawful activities of journalists other than Clive Goodman,
or that the desire to preserve confidentiality was a key factor in the settlement. There is
some documentary evidence that James Murdoch was aware of the Taylor claim prior to
10 June 2008. There is some documentary evidence that Tom Crone and Colin Myler
intended to brief James Murdoch in more detail, but there is no documentary evidence
showing that they actually did. In particular, Colin Myler forwarded to James Murdoch
the email chain of 7 June 2008, which contains information that ought to have caused
him significant concern. However, James Murdoch's evidence is that he did not read
the chain to its end and there is no evidence to contradict his account

This paragraph runs pretty much in Paralel to the Murdoch defence advanced at both the Leveson Inquiry and the  later DCMS committee appearances.  It may stand up to scrutiny at the present moment, but in the coming weeks, when people end up standing in the courts, or when the report of the Leveson Inquiry is published, we may see an entirely different implication emerge.

Then we have Paragraph 28

Over the following months, proceedings were issued against NGN by a number of persons who thought their phones had been hacked. James Murdoch has given evidence to the Leveson Inquiry that he assumed that information relevant to the
litigation was being preserved. We have no evidence that this is not the case.

A paragraph that  suggests that defence information is being taken as read. once again something that could come apart quickly if things go badly in the court cases.  But all is couched in such terms that OFCOM is taking no responsibility for its current answer.

and then we have  paragraph 40

However, we would be concerned if statements, which have surfaced from time to time
in the course of the Leveson Inquiry and the work of the CMSC, that News Corporation
and its subsidiaries have exerted pressure over politicians and others in support of News
Corporation's commercial interests, went beyond the legitimate area of political debate
and transgressed into inappropriate pressure or behaviour related to furthering News
Corporation's commercial interests. News Corporation has a large shareholding in Sky
plc and has made assertions in other contexts about the degree of control it exercises
over it. Should further material evidence or findings become available we will take them
into account in relation to our continuing duty.

which lays it open for OFCOM to come back, if the situation changes, and seems to be worded in such a way that it leads towards the new wave of burglary allegations. If you follow the logic of this paragraph it is rather as if OFCOM has painted itself into a corner, and if further happens, thenthey will have little choice but to act more strongly.

The BBC's business editor has commentedTwitter / Peston: Clear implication of Ofcom ...

Clear implication of Ofcom report is BSkyB would have been declared "not fit & proper" if James Murdoch had not stood down as chairman

In other news, We have had a further four arrests in the last two days. Three more News international journalists, (two for corruption and one in connection with stolen phones) and a police officer

Its all coming along (with more guaranteed early next week)

Maybe, but I can't help but feel that, with the govt's big fat thumb on the scales of justice, that this is a bit of a whitewash. The idea that NI is a perfectly fit company but for the presence of James Mordor is simply beyond fantasy.

they are scum from top to bottom. Everybody is tainted, you'd have to be a sleazy wet fart to want to work for them in the first place and, once you're inside, the corruption enters the soul.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 04:23:30 PM EST
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 20th, 2012 at 04:49:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the process for an Ofcom investigation? Could the Leveson report and/or further prosecutions lead to it being re-openedned?

i.e. does the current whitewash give NI the all-clear for the foreseeable future? If they put in a quick bid for complete control of Sky, would they get away with it?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Sep 21st, 2012 at 05:34:36 AM EST
Well my thoughts are this has been rushed out before party conference season, in the same way that the Leveson report has been pushed back till after.

Ofcom has to monitor at all times, so could re-open it tomorrow if something like this was to happen

BBC News - James Murdoch set for key News Corp role, reports say

James Murdoch is being lined up for an expanded role at News Corp, the media empire controlled by his father, according to reports.

Mr Murdoch, 39, who gave up his main executive jobs in the UK earlier this year, is said to be taking charge of News Corp's US television businesses.

The Financial Times and News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal newspapers carried the reports.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Sep 21st, 2012 at 05:45:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
James Murdoch as Fox TV head would be a 'slap in the face' to shareholders | Media | guardian.co.uk

News Corp shareholders have reacted angrily to news that James Murdoch could soon run the media giant's flagship Fox TV channel.

The son of News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch was heavily criticised on Thursday by British regulators over his role in the hacking scandal. On the same day, news broke he may soon be given control of some of the media firm's most high profile assets.

One dissident shareholder called the news a "slap in the face for shareholders, not to mention victims of the hacking scandal".

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Sep 21st, 2012 at 01:52:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's zombies; no matter how many parts you cut off, or how many "you aren't being nice" statements you issue, they keep on coming...
by asdf on Fri Sep 21st, 2012 at 10:20:07 AM EST

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