Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Yesterday Murdoch pulled a last minute manoeuvre to exclude his company's outrageous hacking practices from the BSKyB deal review. I feel we should call on the government to immediately rule that the Murdochs aren't fit and proper to own half our commercial media. Tomorrow this will be debated in Parliament.
Hacking murdered children's phones, paying off police, destroying evidence of crimes, threatening politicians -- MPs are saying the Murdoch empire has "entered the criminal underworld". But Murdoch is still calling the shots and could still get the BSkyB prize.
Yesterday, he pulled a cunning last minute manoeuvre, which now means that regulators will review the deal solely on plurality, not the outrageous immorality of his company's practices. But British law says media owners must be "fit and proper" to be trusted with broadcast licenses.
Murdoch's media -- From the News of the World to the Sun to the Sunday Times -- has corrupted our society, our politics on all sides of the political divide, and our police.
His staff have listened in to grieving widows of soldiers who died in Iraq, a war that Murdoch's global media empire promoted. They stole a sitting Prime Minister's bank information and his family's medical records, and hacked into the phones, computers and homes of thousands of people. They paid the police for information, and got the first hacking investigation stopped after meeting senior officers. And James Murdoch approved cheques to hush up victims who threatened action -- a criminal obstruction of justice.
As the Murdoch empire's vile dealings have been uncovered, he has fought back to try to save his lucrative BSkyB TV deal. First, he pulled the News of the World. Then, yesterday, he surprised Jeremy Hunt, culture minister in the coalition government, by withdrawing his previous undertaking to hive off Sky News from BSkyB.
This forced Hunt to refer the deal to the Competition Commission and buying time for the political temperature to cool to ensure the deal Murdoch so badly wants, is judged only on market share, not his company's criminality.
So far the Murdochs have been protected by fear. They run smear campaigns against their enemies, threatening the career of any politician who challenges them. But the fear is melting away, and for the first time our politicians could take steps to stop him, by ruling Murdoch unfit to own our media and forcing him to give up control of his empire in the UK.
Tomorrow Parliament could make this move -- it's a breathtaking chance to improve British media and democracy in one fell swoop.
I wonder if they will be brave enough?
Posted by Pete Labels: media