Feeds

Gov piles pressure on News Corp in BSkyB bid

We're watching you, matey

Top three mobile application threats

An independent director will have to sit in on Sky News board meetings when editorial decisions are being made if News Corporation's bid to takeover BSkyB is successful and the news provider is spun off into a separate company, the Government said today.

The independent director has to have senior editorial or journalistic experience, the Government said. The UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced proposals that detailed the requirement as one of four conditions that News Corporation has committed to in order for its takeover bid to be completed.

A previous undertaking was that Sky News be separated from BSkyB. The new undertakings create more conditions related to the news provider.

The proposed undertakings (15-page / 117KB PDF), which have been revised following a Government consultation on the issue of the takeover in March, also include a requirement for Sky to continue to cross-promote Sky News on its other channels.

Jeremy Hunt will have to approve Sky News' Articles of Association before the takeover can proceed, the revised proposals said. The Articles of Association (54-page / 460KB PDF) refer to various procedural rules including a commitment to be editorially independent.

A monitoring trustee must also be appointed to ensure that all the undertakings are complied with during the takeover process, the revised proposals said.

Industry and the public have until 8th July to respond to the proposed undertakings.

The revised undertakings were published to address concerns the Government received in response to a public consultation it held about the takeover in March, Jeremy Hunt said in a statement from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The consultation was held to consider previously proposed undertakings Hunt had agreed with News Corporation. More than 40,000 respondents commented on the proposals, the Government said.

The previously drafted undertakings came in for criticism from some media organisations. They claimed that there were insufficient measures in place to ensure that Sky would have independent editorial control over news content during an interim period within the change of ownership process and once News Corporation took over, according to a DCMS summary (25-page /438KB PDF) of the responses it received.

“I am aware of the huge interest in the proposed merger and am grateful to those who responded to the [March] consultation," Jeremy Hunt said in a statement by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

"I could have decided to accept the original undertakings but a number of suggestions were made in response to the consultation which could further strengthen the undertakings, particularly around editorial independence, business viability and the articles of association. I am therefore proposing some changes to the undertakings and I will now hold a further public consultation,” Hunt said.

Media regulator Ofcom said in December that the proposed takeover could impact on media plurality. It had also advised Jeremy Hunt to refer the matter to the Competition Commission. The Commission could consider whether a prospective takeover would leave competition in the UK media market in a healthy state and whether it would benefit the organisations, customers and the economy.

Ofcom said it backed the changes made to News Corporation's undertakings.

"We consider that the revised proposed undertakings offered by News Corporation would address the plurality concerns identified in our [December]," Ofcom said in a letter (8-page / 211KB PDF) to Jeremy Hunt.

Copyright © 2011, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.