A pragmatic stance? 

25 January 2011 tbs.pm/1241

There will no doubt be a lot of people looking at Jeremy Hunt today and drawing a lot of negative conclusions. The news that he will be giving BSkyB more time in order to address concerns about a Murdoch dominance of the media, is certain to raise the heckles of many. His decision will be used by many as yet more evidence that Hunt always is just as biased as Vince Cable was – ableit in the opposite direction. Many will draw that conclusion (indeed one of my fellow bloggers has on this blog), and I totally understand how one could take that stance. I almost did myself.

However personally I find it hard not to look at Hunt’s position as being a rather pragmatic one. If News Corporation have offered to make concessions – the suggestion seems to be about making editorial guarantees for Sky News, and possibly even an independent editorial board – then is it not at least fair to do put them under scrunity on them rather than ruling then out right away? Hunt has promised that if he is minded to accept the proposals (the details of which, we’re all waiting for), they will also be put out to consultation before refering the whole bid to the Competition Commission.

The analysis work will be done by Ofcom, and their recommendations no doubt be published for all to see. If that analysis is ignored by the government, then we have a right to ask questions. But personally I’ll be waiting to see what happens.

And, if nothing else, it will certainly stall the takeover for a few months…

You Say

3 responses to this article

Russ J Graham 25 January 2011 at 11:09 am

An independent editorial board for Sky News would be fine… except Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of The Times was agreed on the proviso that an independent editorial board was formed for the paper.

I don’t recall The Times taking an independent line from its proprietor in recent years, suggesting that this idea doesn’t work with the Murdochs.

Or was a sop that was never meant to work.

Andrew Bowden 25 January 2011 at 2:38 pm

The Times comes across as less under the thumb than the Sun. For whatever reason, the Sun was the only newspaper not to cover the Sky Sports sexism story, whilst the Times apparently put it on their front page.

Now that action could have just been an editorial misjudgment from the Sun’s editor, however if it is, News International’s papers certainly don’t help themselves and their reputation.

Andrew Bowden 26 January 2011 at 9:21 am

Ah, apparently the Sun did cover it, although only on pages 4 and 5. Incorrect information from a now humbly apologising Roy Greenslade.

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