Prepare for a long struggle against the Murdoch bid for Sky
THE BATTLE to stop the Murdoch family controlling even more of British media looks a long slog, as culture secretary Karen Bradley ponders a report from the regulator Ofcom advising her not to accept the new bid from 21st Century Fox to buy up the whole of Sky TV.
Instead Ofcom says she should send it to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to look at the effect on media plurality of Murdoch control of Sky, the UK's biggest broadcaster, and its biggest newspaper group.
A CMA investigation will take six months, and Bradley could not even decide whether to refer the case to it before Parliament's summer recess began on 21 July. A CMA referral in September would mean no outcome until Summer 2018.
It's looking like a re-run of the last time the Murdochs tried to buy Sky, in 2010-11, when an active campaign, supported by the NUJ, kept the issue going for more than a year, until the bid collapsed when the phone-hacking scandal blew up.
The election result has had a big impact: Theresa May's wobbly government dare not risk a deal with Murdoch; the political storm would be too violent. The campaign is again making it difficult, and again the NUJ is backing it. LFB has donated £500 to the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom which is organising campaign materials and events.
LFB joint secretary Tim Gopsill, editor of the CPBF journal Free Press, said: "We stopped them before and we will do it again. Sky controlled by the Murdochs would be like Fox TV in America, just crude right-wing propaganda, with the likelihood it would drag down standards across the industry."