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From: The Socialist issue 661, 9 March 2011: We can stop cuts!

Search site for keywords: Rupert Murdoch - Tories - International - Journalists - Labour - News International

Tories allow growth of Murdoch media empire

AS EXPECTED, News Corporation group, owned by the Rupert Murdoch clan, has been given the green light by Tory culture and media secretary Jeremy Hunt to fully take over TV satellite company BSkyB - the largest pay TV broadcaster in the UK.

It's arguable that News Corporation, that currently owns 40% of BSkyB, already has effective control. Nonetheless the takeover, if a cash deal (estimated to be worth £9 billion) is agreed with the BSkyB board, will strengthen the Murdoch media empire in the UK.

Murdoch's News International titles are notorious for their anti-labour movement stance, including sacking thousands of print workers and journalists during the Wapping dispute in the mid-1980s.

It was the News of the World (NoW) that initiated perjury proceedings against well-known Scottish socialist Tommy Sheridan. This was after Tommy won a libel case against NoW in 2006.

NoW is currently embroiled in illegal phone hacking charges after the police and department for public prosecutions initially failed to pursue numerous complaints from politicians and celebrities that their phone messages had been compromised.

Rupert Murdoch has enjoyed a personal audience with prime minister David Cameron, and News International newspaper titles, which include the Sun and the Times, switched their political support from New Labour to the Tories prior to the general election. Both parties deny that any mutually beneficial deal had been struck.

Prior to Jeremy Hunt overseeing the 'gift' business secretary and Lib Dem MP Vince Cable was in charge. But Cable was suckered by undercover journalists (ironically working for a Murdoch rival, the Daily Telegraph) into saying that he would prevent the takeover. The publication of his hostile statement on Murdoch's bid compromised Cable, who was then moved from his role.

As a sop to public concerns about its media domination News Corporation has agreed to spin off Sky News as an "independent company". But the rolling news channel is not a lucrative business unlike the highly profitable TV pay subscriptions of BSkyB. Moreover, Murdoch's claims during previous takeovers, including of the Times newspapers and the Wall Street Journal, to protect editorial independence, have proved worthless.

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