Massive public concern over News International takeover

Overwhelming support for a full and independent investigation, into News Corporation’s bid to buy the remaining 61% of BSkyB that it does not already own, is revealed in an ICM poll of 2,006 people published today.

Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Jeremy Hunt will receive an initial report from Ofcom on the implications of the planned deal by 31 December. He then has until 15 January to decide whether or not to refer it to the Competition Commission for a full-blown review. Mr Hunt can task the Commission to examine whether the merger would reduce the plurality of the UK media and should therefore be blocked.

The survey – commissioned by BT, Guardian Media Group, Associated Newspapers Limited, Trinity Mirror Plc, Northcliffe Media and Telegraph Media Group – discloses the depth of public concern over the proposed takeover, which was cleared on competition grounds last week by the European Commission:

· 63% said there should be an independent investigation before deciding whether to allow the deal to proceed

· 84% said that a single organisation should not be allowed to control too much of the news media

· 75% said it was important to have competing independent sources of news in the UK

· 44% oppose the deal with a mere 5% being in favour; opposition among Conservative voters was nearly as strong, with 43% opposed and just 5% in favour

· 53% of those who currently identify themselves as Lib Dem oppose the deal with just 4% being in favour.

A spokesman for the alliance of media groups said:

“This deal marks a significant change of control and the public is clearly concerned. If anything, popular awareness of the issues at stake will now be substantially higher.”

“A clear majority of the public wants a full and independent investigation into News Corporation’s bid to take over BSkyB. The Competition Commission provides that mechanism. The public’s concern that no one organisation should control too much of the news – as News Corporation would under the planned deal – is also very striking.”

“Of those who expressed a view, nine times as many people oppose the deal as support it. With 44% opposing and 5% in favour, that is a significant level of concern. Opposition is stacked against the deal among Conservative voters too.”

4 thoughts on “Massive public concern over News International takeover”

  1. The authorities lost the battle with Mr. Murdoch back in the late eighties/early nineties when he started broadcasting directly to homes, using a communications satellte (Astra 1A) and the time to have a go at him was back then, and defend the offical direct to home system which was British Satellite Broadcasting. But they did nothing and now want to curtail his power ? Well Sky was his baby and mostly his money. I don’t know why people are worried. They can go and get FreeView or FreeSat. What needs to happen is to END the slicing of the media cake between EU countries and allow people to subscribe to English (or any other) language Film channels… Oh – Er, our censorious politicians don’t want us so called “free” people watching the explicit material which is available in those truly free countries elsewhere do they ?

    Too worred about what the Mrs Whitehouse types would say about it.

    I’d welcome the competition. But you need to put the framework in place to allow that to happen, not to stop Mr. Murdoch in this way.

  2. Dear Tom Watson,

    I watched a video of your speach regarding Glenn Beck and I was very impressed. You are correct that the rest of the so called FOX News “newscasters” are bigoted. Unfortunately, they speak directly to a fast growing group of people who want to go back to some fantasy, better, “whiter” time. The non-Jewish community has also tried to petition advertisers but to date we have had no luck. I now follow you on facebook or I can check your blog so I can follow your progress. Good-luck to you.

    Regard, Lisa
    p.s. sorry if I addressed you improperly…from US…should I add MP…?

  3. Only this morning I see the inevitable has happened and this almost guarantees a win for the tories at the next election. The BSB take over has been allowed on the undertaking that Sky news will be sold off but as Sky news (currently loss making anuway) will need satalite broadcasters as customers and BSB in particular, it beggars belief to say that they will be able to retain editorioal independence. We all know that ‘he Murdoch) who pays the Piper (Sky News) plays the tune’
    Tom Watson you are doing a sterling job you need to have a few more friends around to protect your back as you are one of the few truly independent investigative MP’s we have on either side of the House.

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