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Does it matter whether News Corp owns BSkyB?

10:50 UK time, Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said that he intends to refer News Corporation's bid for BSkyB to the Competition Commission. Does it matter whether News Corporation owns BSkyB?

News Corp already has a 39% stake in BSkyB and is trying to buy the rest. It also owns UK newspapers the Sun, News of the World, the Times and Sunday Times.

"On the evidence available, I consider that it may be the case that the merger may operate against the public interest in media plurality," Mr Hunt said in a statement.

Does is matter whether News Corporation owns BSkyB? How important is media plurality in Britain? What would the impact be if the merger was approved?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Yes, it matters who owns what, that is why monopolies should be despised by us all. But BSkyB will live or die by its programme content and it is exclusivity of certain material that has made it so popular for sport, for example.

    But I do have a view on plurality in the public service sector. Why should the BBC be the only publicly owned and financed broadcaster? Why isn't the license fee nest egg divided up into smaller competing public sector franchises that live and die via the people's choice to listen or watch?

  • Comment number 2.

    Jeremy Hunt is right in referring this to the competition commission. Monopolies are never in the interests of the consumer or the economy but are purely in the interests of the shareholders. It would only result in less choice, prices being hiked up and a stranglehold on the media industry. News Corp claims to be making undertakings to alleviate concerns. You can guarantee that it will be the minimum it can get away with. Once they have control then there will be no holding them back.

  • Comment number 3.

    NewsCorp already owns UK newspapers the Sun, News of the World, the Times and Sunday Times.

    Enough said.

  • Comment number 4.

    Not sure, but I do worry about how susceptible the human mind is to the power of the media. When a news organisation is driven by profit, I think that in itself removes its impartiality (profit seeking is an agenda, and agendas lead to bias).

  • Comment number 5.

    Not to me.
    I see more balanced reporting on Sky News than BBC News (Labour propaganda arm) which I find very sad and annoying as I am FORCED to pay for the BBC and not Sky which, if I found offensive or unbalanced, I could remove my subscription.
    I think this is called freedom of choice.
    I have no choice with the BBC, just force their pro Labour spin (ala Guardianesqe) on its viewers.
    As Jim Royle would say ‘balanced and independent reporting my arm’

  • Comment number 6.

    If News Corp wanting to buy BSkyB is to be referred to the Competiton Commission on the grounds of media plurality, then why should the BBC not be equally referred? Most of its news agenda comes straight from the Guardian and in terms of power,influence, and conceit it is far in excess of Murdoch.
    And what about Richard Desmond? Does he not own Channel 5 and the Express/Star?
    No, I dont have a Sky subscription and don't intend to get one, but there is a strong whiff of hypocracy about this.

  • Comment number 7.

    Mr Murdoch has too strong a say/grip on the British media as it is, he should not be allowed any more.

  • Comment number 8.

    Because of NewsCorps strong political views expressed through its media outlets then yes, this matters very much.

  • Comment number 9.

    Consider the fact that when The Times or The Sun decide to back a political party then invariably that party wins the election. So much for an independent press! If they were to own BSkyB in its entirety then you would have to ask what the point is in anyone having a vote.

    I have no desire to live in Murdochland and hope that the Monopolies & Mergers Commission blocks this. If they don't then I would like to see them insist that News Corp has to sell some of its print media interests at least in order that their market share remains stable and potentially lessen its influence in this country.

  • Comment number 10.

    Of course it matters! we'll have less choice, more pushed agendas and less actual facts being reported.

  • Comment number 11.

    "I see more balanced reporting on Sky News than BBC News"

    Ha ha! That's a good one, must remember to tell that one later!

  • Comment number 12.

    Does it matter whether News Corp owns BSkyB?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Not ask much as it does whether the BBC offers an effective counterbalance to vested-interest agenda-driven news sellers. I don't think it does at all.

  • Comment number 13.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 14.

    5. At 11:48am on 25 Jan 2011, AuntieLeft wrote:

    Not to me.
    I see more balanced reporting on Sky News than BBC News (Labour propaganda arm) which I find very sad and annoying as I am FORCED to pay for the BBC and not Sky which, if I found offensive or unbalanced, I could remove my subscription.
    I think this is called freedom of choice.
    I have no choice with the BBC, just force their pro Labour spin (ala Guardianesqe) on its viewers.
    As Jim Royle would say ‘balanced and independent reporting my arm’

    ----------------------

    MMmmm yes, that's why we got a HYS debate on the Alan Johnson story that ran for days to the point that for the last few days there were only about a dozen comments a day going up from dedicated anti-labour posters, (the only ones who still thought it was a relevant story or as an excuse to vent their never ending spleens).

    Yet we did not get a HYS on the real story of the week, the Coulson resignation.

    The Coulson story and all it's implications is one of many reasons why Rupert Murdoch needs to have his wings clipped.

    By balanced reporting, do you mean they put a spin on it that meets with your views as opposed to the BBC where generally they put both sides of the argument.

  • Comment number 15.

    It matters a great deal. It's bad enough that Murdoch uses his newspapers to inflict his political will on the masses without the television news doing the same. The BBC may not be perfect but its news coverage is generally well balanced (although those already brainwashed by Murdoch will try and tell you otherwise). One only has to look at Fox News in the US to see what might happen if Murdoch has his way over here.

  • Comment number 16.

    I don’t see this as different to the BBC owning Lonely Planet and a string of other publications.

    Even if News Corporation purchases the remaining shares in Sky that they don’t already own, the BBC will still dominate news penetration.

    Sky News is an important balance to BBC bias so it’s essential that Ofcom is not permitted to have undue influence as this in itself would be against the public interest.

  • Comment number 17.

    Yes it does

    But it matters even more that Politicians keep a safe distance from media tycoons (who can influence elections). Politicians are there to represent the electorate,
    not a small select elite who happen to own newspapers and TV stations.

    Cameron was wrong to meet Murdoch personally and I believe he will come to regret in years to come

  • Comment number 18.

    Yes it does...stop this man taking over the media world now!

  • Comment number 19.

    The main strength of capitalism is that it provides choice but with unfettered capitalism its predatory side removes choice by taking over competion till all choice is removed, all the main parties in the UK recognise the need to limit this process, to at least some extent, to stop the system destroying itself.

  • Comment number 20.

    Having seen what Murdoch has done to the media in Australia we ought to prevent him getting any more of our own media. His republican leanings have distorted so much political thinking and corrupted free speech without the recipients realising they were being controlled.
    Italy is another example of what happens when one man controls a countries media, and we don't want that here.
    Already our own BBC is sliding further and further to the left; patriotism has become a dirty word.

  • Comment number 21.

    It matters a very great deal, given that News Corporation already owns so many newspapers in this country. This one company, run by someone who is not British and not entitled to vote in this country, holds far too much sway over public opinion, through its various mouthpieces. It is able, in effect, to control the outcome of general elections, which is something that even the most senior elected politicians are less able to do.

    If this company gains full control over Sky, it will be a very bad day for democracy.

  • Comment number 22.

    Are masters in Europe have given the green light so what exactly is the problem?.

    At least with Sky you have the right not to subscribe,unlike the BBC whos ex-employee has exposed some serious questions about a corporation thats is meant to be "fair" and "balanced".

  • Comment number 23.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 24.

    Some of the competition suffered by Murdoch's empire from the BBC isn't too robust, at times, it would seem.

    I came across this bizarre paragraph in a BBC News article re Inuit gathering food under sea ice:

    "..."We all know stories of mussel hunters who didn't make it out in time. If you can't get out, you die," Mary Qumaaluk told the Human Planet team. She later died in a quad bike accident..."

    The piece then featured a link, if you please, to a site about mussel recipes...

  • Comment number 25.

    When Sky was first launched The Times & Sunday Times were free publicity sheets to the extent that Private Eye ran a column called I-BSkyB-Spy where people could report blatant promotional plugs for the service.

    This is the problem, not one of News International's organisations be they newspapers or satellite TV are independent of each other, they all toe the corporate line. Usually that public expenditure (bad) is too high, as is tax (bad). Whereas 'freedom' for entrepreneurs (good) and the market (good) is reported as an essential need for the country.

    Sky TV ONLY exists because Murdoch persuaded tatcher to ruin ITV, it's main competitor. With ITV's internationally recognised standard for quality (because THEIR main competitor was the BBC) made Sky with it's inability to make programs a non-starter. So ITV got modernised (sorry - became 'market-focused) and became ratings obsessed to the extent that we have Coronation Street on almost every hour!

    The result is that we are told (by the Murdoch press) that Sky is a wonderful service, when in fact if it wasn't for sport almost no-one would subscribe to it.

    I want a real choice in services we get from the media, and god forbid if we ever get Fox news. I am prepared to accept TV stations that promote issues I do not agree with, but we have to draw the line somewhere, and Fox News is it.





  • Comment number 26.

    9. At 11:57am on 25 Jan 2011, Geoff wrote:
    Consider the fact that when The Times or The Sun decide to back a political party then invariably that party wins the election. So much for an independent press! If they were to own BSkyB in its entirety then you would have to ask what the point is in anyone having a vote.

    --------------

    And this practice of papers backing political parties should also be banned. There is just too much at stake when papers sensationalise or play down news stories depending on how it affects the party they support. Papers should, like the TV press, be forced to be completely unbiased and should be heavily punished for not doing so.

    Having said that, papers were always meant to be a news medium, responsible for reporting news. These days, they seem more and more interested in making news, i.e. secret recordings, phone tapping, sensationalising events etc. etc..

  • Comment number 27.

    It matters a great deal who owns BSkyB, particularly when News Corporation has so many overtly politically biased information channels in other countries. There is already enough of the media in this country in the hands of a few people who use their outlets to pursue their own agendas out of self-interest. The last thing we need is the biggest of them all gaining such a power hold, particularly in light of the known close relationships that exists between News Corporation management in the UK and some members of the cabinet.

    Inevitably there are a handful of eccentrics who come on here saying the BBC is more biased etc, but for all its faults, the BBC has many checks and balances on its editorial integrity. They don't work all the time, but overall the standard of impartiality in the BBC is about as good as it gets. What people really mean when they call the BBC biased is that it simply doesn't present the warped view of the political and economic world that they hold themselves.

    News Corporation owning BSkyB would put too much power and influence in the hands of too few.

  • Comment number 28.

    The Sun - I don't buy
    The NotW - I don't buy
    The Times - I don't buy
    The ST - I don't buy
    Sky - I don't have, subscriptions and adverts - no thanks

    Mind you I don't buy any newspapers these days as I can think for myself. If people are swayed by the political leanings of newspaper owners then they deserve what they get and can't complain. Bahhhh

    Basically, no, it won't affect me.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think it does matter - but nothing we say or do will alter how the conservatives will allow the sell off of everything.

    I also don't like how the BBC now interviews ethnics when interviewing anyone - its ethnics first and white people second its scandalous.

  • Comment number 30.

    Barely 20 comments in and people are already afflicted with 'Murdochophobia'. I have no problem with Jeremy Hunt referring the matter to the competition commission, but it has to be for purely for commercial reasons and not because he is a member of the thought police launching a 21st century witch hunt against a media organisation whose political views he doesn't agree wth.

    As long as Murdoch's media stay within the law, they are entitled in a free society to print any political view they damn well please, but he is not entitled to a strangle-hold on the media, and that is the only thing that should be referred to the competition commission.


    Lets also take the BBC to the competition commission; they are a state monopoly who demand money with menaces from licence-payers, if they even want to watch Murdoch's Sky Digital or even Sir Richard Branson's Virgin media satellite television channels.

  • Comment number 31.

    1. At 11:39am on 25 Jan 2011, Aneeta Trikk wrote:
    Yes, it matters who owns what, that is why monopolies should be despised by us all. But BSkyB will live or die by its programme content and it is exclusivity of certain material that has made it so popular for sport, for example.

    But I do have a view on plurality in the public service sector. Why should the BBC be the only publicly owned and financed broadcaster? Why isn't the license fee nest egg divided up into smaller competing public sector franchises that live and die via the people's choice to listen or watch?
    ---------------------------
    Because they will all end up producing lowest common denominator programmes that will be indistinguishable from the rubbish in ITV.

  • Comment number 32.

    28. At 12:50pm on 25 Jan 2011, Sue Doughcoup wrote:
    The Sun - I don't buy
    The NotW - I don't buy
    The Times - I don't buy
    The ST - I don't buy
    Sky - I don't have, subscriptions and adverts - no thanks

    Mind you I don't buy any newspapers these days as I can think for myself. If people are swayed by the political leanings of newspaper owners then they deserve what they get and can't complain. Bahhhh

    Basically, no, it won't affect me.
    --------------------
    Totally agree, except I am worried about the weaker minded people it will affect - it's not like there's an intelligence test at the ballot box...........

  • Comment number 33.

    25. At 12:48pm on 25 Jan 2011, JohnH wrote:
    When Sky was first launched The Times & Sunday Times were free publicity sheets to the extent that Private Eye ran a column called I-BSkyB-Spy where people could report blatant promotional plugs for the service.

    This is the problem, not one of News International's organisations be they newspapers or satellite TV are independent of each other, they all toe the corporate line. Usually that public expenditure (bad) is too high, as is tax (bad). Whereas 'freedom' for entrepreneurs (good) and the market (good) is reported as an essential need for the country.

    Sky TV ONLY exists because Murdoch persuaded tatcher to ruin ITV, it's main competitor. With ITV's internationally recognised standard for quality (because THEIR main competitor was the BBC) made Sky with it's inability to make programs a non-starter. So ITV got modernised (sorry - became 'market-focused) and became ratings obsessed to the extent that we have Coronation Street on almost every hour!

    The result is that we are told (by the Murdoch press) that Sky is a wonderful service, when in fact if it wasn't for sport almost no-one would subscribe to it.

    I want a real choice in services we get from the media, and god forbid if we ever get Fox news. I am prepared to accept TV stations that promote issues I do not agree with, but we have to draw the line somewhere, and Fox News is it.
    --------------------
    Reccommended - end of debate as far as i'm concerned!

  • Comment number 34.

    "The result is that we are told (by the Murdoch press) that Sky is a wonderful service, when in fact if it wasn't for sport almost no-one would subscribe to it.

    I want a real choice in services we get from the media, and god forbid if we ever get Fox news. I am prepared to accept TV stations that promote issues I do not agree with, but we have to draw the line somewhere, and Fox News is it."

    Spot on. Having lived in the US for many years the prospect of Britain relying on Fox "news" for information scares me rigid. I subscribed to Sky for the sport, but have cancelled because I'd rather lose that (and really not watch TV at all) than continue to support Mr M and his empire. If the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Anne Coulter et al start delivering "news" here then we are doomed for sure.

  • Comment number 35.

    ive found CNN actually report things in the UK and have a camera there way before the BBC or SKY!

    i remember when the royal car was attacked it was a rumor on bbc and sky
    cnn already had photo's and a person at the scene!

  • Comment number 36.

    Yes it matters,the British people have had enough of a lying media controlled by a loathed media tycoon.You only have to look at who owns the News Of The World,The Sun and numerous other publications.All of which have been disgraced and seem to be a law unto themselves in what they print or who they destroy.The Murdoch empire uses it influence to change political thinking which is hardly democracy as we know it.If this same person had total control of tv broadcasting then the government of the day would have a 1984 ability to control us all. This media tycoon is hated across the world especially in the US where his sort tacky tv is usually acceptable and if you think I jest just look at the vile Fox News.

  • Comment number 37.

    Yes it does matter and as I hate,detest, and abhor Murdoch's media I for one do not want the world dumbed down any further with his tabloid tosh, having said that The Times is a good paper, the rest is in my opinion absolute rubbish.

  • Comment number 38.

    16. At 12:20pm on 25 Jan 2011, thomas betham wrote:

    I don’t see this as different to the BBC owning Lonely Planet and a string of other publications.

    Even if News Corporation purchases the remaining shares in Sky that they don’t already own, the BBC will still dominate news penetration.

    Sky News is an important balance to BBC bias so it’s essential that Ofcom is not permitted to have undue influence as this in itself would be against the public interest.

    ----------------------------------

    If the BBC was soo biased, as you claim, then why are they allowing comments like your to get through. Just because the BBC doesn't report that your side is correct you label it biased. If anything the BBC takes it's obligation to show each side of an argument too fare, especially n scientific issues where even the most ludicrous, unproven theories are given just as much coverage as facts, such as the MMR case. To this day there are still parents of children who wrongfully 'believe' that the single jab will give there kids Autism.

  • Comment number 39.

    Dont they already have a monopoly ? seems like it with the press.

  • Comment number 40.

    the answer must regretably be yes it does matter
    control of news is not desirable in countries that want
    democracy to be the foundatons of their state
    and not in the hands of one man or clique

  • Comment number 41.

    Yes , new corp should be banned from having anything to do with the media because its mostly LIES AND SPIN.

  • Comment number 42.

    Does it matter? I dont think so now, everything is being sold to anyone. Cadburies is owned by a yank company, Rolls Royce is owned by an Indian company, the power (and water I believe) is owned by a French company, why not sell BSkyB to News Corps so we will get the same news views from different sources. Thankfully I do not use any of those sources.

  • Comment number 43.

    Of cause it matters! Media is the biggest psychological tool in the deciver’s arsenal and if the biggest Capitalist media organisation is allowed a monopoly. We won’t stand a chance against those who want to cheat and lie using subliminal propaganda. TV is far from an entertainment screen and any organisation who wants to broadcast to us, should be vetted and supervised as to their motives and if they are deemed detrimental to the country their licence should be revoked.

  • Comment number 44.

    #5, don't know what colour politically you are but I find BBC favours right wing politics.

  • Comment number 45.

    Without the sport Sky would be unwatchable!

  • Comment number 46.

    I have an uneasy feeling that it does matter who owns the media, because it is our window on the World.

  • Comment number 47.

    Why is everyone so afraid of Rupert Murdoch?

    If you don't like him then simply don't buy his newspapers and don't subscribe to his TV channels.

    Let the people decide for themselves.

  • Comment number 48.

    35. At 1:08pm on 25 Jan 2011, scotty1694 wrote:

    ive found CNN actually report things in the UK and have a camera there way before the BBC or SKY!

    i remember when the royal car was attacked it was a rumor on bbc and sky
    cnn already had photo's and a person at the scene!

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    I am quite shocked by that, although it is a long long time since I watched sensationalist biased CNN....and it will probably be another 100 years before I do.

  • Comment number 49.

    " 5. At 11:48am on 25 Jan 2011, AuntieLeft wrote:
    Not to me.
    I see more balanced reporting on Sky News than BBC News (Labour propaganda arm) which I find very sad and annoying as I am FORCED to pay for the BBC and not Sky which, if I found offensive or unbalanced, I could remove my subscription."

    Not realy, Sky (Murdock) sells its editorial soul to which ever polictical party will give newscorp (Murdock) what he wants.

    Do you really think the Tories would have got help from the Murdock press if they hadnt backed down in regards to items like, the bringing Cricket back to terrestrial TV under the 'crown jewels' legislation.

    The same happened before Labour got into power, even the tory press (Times, Sun, etc) started supporting Blair, as they offered him a chance to expand.

  • Comment number 50.

    does it matter!! of course it matters,for gods sake,how much control are we to allow the ruperteers to have,the beeb are not up to being a counter balance they swing to the right as it is,if murdoch takes control then in essence he run the media.we do NOT wnant this in our country,have you watched that load of bile the american murdoch news channel, i think it is titled five news,putting the right wing view over without any regards to facts or the truth.they also take an aggresive attitude to anyone who stands up to them,i notice it creeping into sky in this country,lets hope our politicos have the balls to tell them were to shove it.the answer then,of course it matters, the solution, STOP!the
    MURDOCH RUPERTEERS......

  • Comment number 51.

    38. At 1:22pm on 25 Jan 2011, Andy wrote:

    16. At 12:20pm on 25 Jan 2011, thomas betham wrote:

    I don’t see this as different to the BBC owning Lonely Planet and a string of other publications.

    Even if News Corporation purchases the remaining shares in Sky that they don’t already own, the BBC will still dominate news penetration.

    Sky News is an important balance to BBC bias so it’s essential that Ofcom is not permitted to have undue influence as this in itself would be against the public interest.

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    I find Sky very much like CNN. It seems to sensationalise things and is very biased in its (or should I say, its reporters) view.

  • Comment number 52.

    More BBC bias, they are terrified of the competency of Sky News and are desperate to halt it's growth.


    BBC= Left Wing bias.

  • Comment number 53.

    The more extreme right wing individuals control the media, the worse it is for democracy.

    What I don't understand is how badly Labour is represented by the press. All they have is The Daily Mirror, after The Guardian went over to the LibDems ( good move !).

    With all the millions of people who vote for Labour I am amazed that no-one has put a left of centre paper on the market. Even if it was a rich Tory owner, you'd think someone would have thought there was a huge untapped market to move in to.

    I seldom buy newspapers as I find the right wing propaganda is often so extreme that it insults the intelligence of anyone who wants to read a balanced news story.

    It also disturbs me the way the Tories were so quick to put a great big axe into the BBC, as they clearly hate any media group who attempts to provide an intelligent, balanced picture. And they have the nerve to make out that the BBC pumps out left wing propaganda. I saw a report recently about the disproportionately high number of BBC staff in senior posts who were from private school. The amount of presenters etc. from the BBC that I have googled and way too many have come from very elite, private schools and Oxbridge. And we all know how left wing rich, privately educated Oxbridge people tend to be!!! The left wing BBC.... Don't make me laugh.

  • Comment number 54.

    " If the BBC was soo biased, as you claim, then why are they allowing comments like your to get through. Just because the BBC doesn't report that your side is correct you label it biased."

    Spot on - too many people think that bias means not supporting their view. Presumably if it ran more anti-immigration rants and blame-the-muslims stories, these people would be satisfied.

  • Comment number 55.

    The largest and most damaging monoply ridden organisation in the UK.
    Houses of Parliament and Lords.
    Now that would be an interesting monopoly investigation!

  • Comment number 56.

    Of cause it matters! Media is the biggest psychological tool in the deciver’s arsenal and if the biggest Capitalist media organisation is allowed a monopoly. We won’t stand a chance against those who want to cheat and lie using subliminal propaganda. TV is far from an entertainment screen and any organisation who wants to broadcast to us, should be vetted and supervised as to their motives and if they are deemed detrimental to the country their licence should be revoked.

    As opposed to the BBC's 'balanced' view I suppose?
    The BBC have used left wing subliminal propaganda for years (and they admit it) fundamentally breaking their charter.

    We need News Corp to balance the left wing ideological poison coming from the BBC.
    If anyone's charter needs revoking it is the BBC's.


  • Comment number 57.

    Yes it does, it creates a news provider to rival the BBC but without the rules on political impartiality.

  • Comment number 58.

    It's private business's prerogative to give the population what it wants, and Government's prerogative to give us what we need. Too much of what we want is bad for us - just like giving a child chocolate cake and cola every single day will lead to him or her becoming obese, spotty and unfit. Just like too much easy credit from private companies plunged us all into debt.

    In the same way, too much junk in the media leads us to a bad place mentally. A diet of Murdoch-isms in the papers, tawdry soft-core pap in the Scum, and samey ratings-led TV will inevitably condition the minds of those who are over-exposed to it. Murdoch will carry on feeding us the same rubbish because it is in his financial interest to do so. You can't really criticise him for that - it's what businessmen do. In the past, Govt has never had the guts to stand up to big businesses - especially those who could, through their media, turn the minds of the population against them faster than you can say 'U turn'.

    We have to hope that the MMC will be guided by what is right, rather than what is easy. Otherwise we can look forward to the evening news being presented topless by Jenny, 20, from Stockport!

  • Comment number 59.

    I think we should all be concerned about the expansion of the Murdoch empire. I urge any of you who have the ability to watch Fox News for an hour or so to see what the future of the news in this country may hold. They actually employ Sarah Palin as a presenter for goodness sake!

    My personal belief is that for unbiased reporting in this country the only place to turn is the BBC. For all the Tory boys on here howling that the BBC is a leftist mouthpiece, I urge you to take a look at some of the other debates on HYS and you will see that for every cry of "Labour mouthpiece" there will be a Labour fanatic screaming right wing propaganda or "Tory mouthpiece". This tends to suggest that in reality they are somewhere in the middle, just where they should be.

  • Comment number 60.

    With any news media, it is important to know who owns it and his/her opinions, agenda and ambitions.If publicly owned, then be clear about the political leanings and bias of the management and editorial staff. If people do that and therefore understand the bias that goes with media reporting, it does not really matter who the owners are. The modern media is essentially an instrument of propaganda, serving particular interests. Believing everything they say to be truthful is a mistake.

  • Comment number 61.

    At 1:31pm on 25 Jan 2011, Stewart wrote:
    Of cause it matters! Media is the biggest psychological tool in the deciver’s arsenal and if the biggest Capitalist media organisation is allowed a monopoly. We won’t stand a chance against those who want to cheat and lie using subliminal propaganda. TV is far from an entertainment screen and any organisation who wants to broadcast to us, should be vetted and supervised as to their motives and if they are deemed detrimental to the country their licence should be revoked.

    __________________________________________________

    That all depends on who does the 'deeming' wouldn't you say?. This is not Venezuela where the government can shut down media organisations whose political views they disagree with.

  • Comment number 62.

    Yes, it does matter who owns what when it comes to the media. In The United States, it is illegal for a foreigner to own a media organisation; Rupert Murdoch had to become a US citizen first. You'd think that the British government of the time (headed by a certain lady) might have took heed. Yet here we are, 25 years later, with half the British media owned by people with the power to shape public opinion, yet who are not British themselves.

    Some may think that there is nothing wrong with this state of affairs, but I'm not one of them.

  • Comment number 63.

    3. At 11:46am on 25 Jan 2011, Often Rejected wrote:

    NewsCorp already owns UK newspapers the Sun, News of the World, the Times and Sunday Times.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    NewsCorp also owns the British government, because without NewsCorp, they would still be the opposition. Whatever hue of government we have, you can just bet they they are dancing to the Murdoch Jig, and whether The British like it or not, NewsCorp WILL wholly own BSkyB.

  • Comment number 64.

    Ownership of the means of communication - yes of course it matters!

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    No, we don't want NewsCorp owing BSkyB 100%!! The papers they sell are a load of rubbish and most of what Sky shows is a load of repeated rubbish!! The only thing most people have Sky for is the sport (especially football) because the BBC/ITV/Channel 4/Five can't afford to bid for it!! The sooner Sky has it's monopoly broke on sport coverage the better!! Setanta tried and failed and now ESPN only have a small part of the sport coverage. What about sport for those who don't want to line Murdoch's pockets?

  • Comment number 67.

    I feel the media should be organised so that you shouldn't be able to own newspapers as well as television channels. Let News Corp own BSkyB but let it give up its newspapers in return. It's a question of media plurality. Anyone who watches Sky News regularly can see it's self-serving, highly selective and, when the story involves Sky-related businesses, rather reticent. I have some quarrels with the BBC, but we're very lucky to have it. It exists to keep broadcasting standards high - without it, the likes of Sky and ITV would make television not worth watching. Despite Murdoch's needling complaints, I'd be very surprised if he watches Sky News over BBC News 24 when he wants to find out what's going on.

  • Comment number 68.

    At 1:06pm on 25 Jan 2011, edna teevee wrote:
    "The result is that we are told (by the Murdoch press) that Sky is a wonderful service, when in fact if it wasn't for sport almost no-one would subscribe to it.

    I want a real choice in services we get from the media, and god forbid if we ever get Fox news. I am prepared to accept TV stations that promote issues I do not agree with, but we have to draw the line somewhere, and Fox News is it."

    Spot on. Having lived in the US for many years the prospect of Britain relying on Fox "news" for information scares me rigid. I subscribed to Sky for the sport, but have cancelled because I'd rather lose that (and really not watch TV at all) than continue to support Mr M and his empire. If the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Anne Coulter et al start delivering "news" here then we are doomed for sure.

    ___________________________________________________-
    Don't they have CNN, NBC, ABC, NPR, BBC international etc in America as well so why rely on Fox news to get your information?


    This Fox news scaremongeing is a red herring and a bogeyman, it is only one news channel, there are plenty more news channels out there to balance it out.

    The saying "one man's news, is another man's propaganda" works both ways.


    Isn't it funny though Murdoch allows obvious anti-America propaganda News channels like Aljazeera and Press tv on his digital satellite platform free to air without subscription while requiring a subscription for Fox News.

  • Comment number 69.

    It would matter a good deal less if the BBC could report on real news (not oscar nominations), stop pandering to its political bosses on things like nagging us all about the drinking of a few kids, and maybe even go as far as to do some proper in depth reporting on important issues rather than regurgitating press releases.
    When, for example, was the last time the BBC actually did something like:
    a) Report that only 70% of the working age population work - therefore 30% are unemployed in the sense of having nothing to employ them?
    b) Report that business is unable to invest because the banks charge very high interest rates that haven't come down with the BofE base rate, and they charge huge fees, and this is why they make massive amounts of money while the rest of the economy is destroyed.
    c) Report why business moves abroad to where masses of red tape are not involved, stupid rules are not enforced and money is much cheaper?
    d) Report on any - and I mean any - engineering or scientific triumph (or even failure)


    The list goes on, my patience doesn't. Do you (BBC) really expect intelligent people to run out and buy more equipment to listen to your pathetic output (4 arts stories made up 40 minutes of this mornings today program between 8 and 9)? Do you (BBC) really think you earn your licence fee by pandering to the 2% of the population interested in your reports on art exhibitions, book readings, occasional film critism (not popular films you understand) or strange plays?

  • Comment number 70.

    No.

  • Comment number 71.

    No business or service should monopolise (or near) any sector eg: MEDIA

    There are strong economic arguments for keeping business smaller and more local, thus helping make the economy stronger and more resilient (long term).

    This logic does not just apply to MEDIA, it applies to any sector.



  • Comment number 72.

    It's about time there was a law that forced all individuals and/or companies with a controlling interest in British media to be tax resident in this country. They have a huge influence on public opinion and on government policy, yet a significant number of them are either foreign nationals or are domiciled abroad for tax.

  • Comment number 73.

    I am very much in favour of Rupert Murdoch, if he has the talent to run these companies then who are we to put a stop to it. Personally my fave paper of his is the Sun, you cant beat a bit of quality journalism.

  • Comment number 74.

    Does this mean that the money Rupe donated to the Tories may have been ill advised.. .....Probably not.
    My money is on Rupert getting his own way any takers !!

  • Comment number 75.

    It's about time there was a law requiring all individuals or companies with a controlling interest in British media to be tax resident in this country. A significant number are owned by either foreign nationals or people who are domiciled abroad for tax reasons, yet they have a huge influence on public opinion and on government policy

  • Comment number 76.

    yes we should have five big players all in competition with each other a consolidated press will mean more corruption unmasked in government!!

  • Comment number 77.

    "Does it matter whether News Corporation owns BSkyB"? is the HYS question.

    Absolutely yes. BSkyB was partly funded by the British tax-payer during it's inception and still retains it's duty to the British public in it's original Charter.

    If ever there was a Murdoch lawyer's back door - this is it.

  • Comment number 78.

    It took donkeys' years to get rid of the total domination of the airwaves by the BBC just to give them away to Murdoch's media empire. It don't seem right to me.

  • Comment number 79.

    Re Post 53, A left of centre newspaper was started in the '90s, it failed. Most newspapers and magazines rely on advertising to support their production costs. Unsurprisingly advertising was not placed with the new newspaper.
    Mainstream media is centrist to right of centre, even the Daily Mirror supports a right-wing Labourite position.
    With the growth of the internet and narrowcasting radio and TV stations, the trend is for people to watch,read and listen to media which does not inform but reinforce their prejudices.
    The situation is more advanced in the USA but there are elements pushing for the end of balanced reporting on radio and TV here too.
    Remember that US Press Baron's slogan for one of his newspapers, 'All the News That's Fit To Print' , who was making the editorial decisions and on what criteria?

  • Comment number 80.

    NewsCorp owning BSkyB doesn't affect me in any way whatsoever and I don't see anything hugely wrong with this possibility, as long as they operate within the rule of law. Rupert Murdoch isn't the only media mogul out there who owns TV channels and newspapers. NewsCorp bidding for ownership of BSkyB is hardly likely to have the BBC top brass quaking in their boots.

  • Comment number 81.

    I wonder if the NoW's not-very-ethical shennanagins will jeapordise Mr. Murdoch's plans?

  • Comment number 82.

    History suggests the media industry has been too large and having too much political influence for ages, so what is new now. BBC, ITV, SKY/FOX CORP, No different today, than when large press corporations having control of poltical parties.

  • Comment number 83.

    NewsCorp already owns UK newspapers the Sun, News of the World, the Times and Sunday Times.

    Enough said.

    -You forgot to mention the Tory Party-

  • Comment number 84.

    "Does it matter whether News Corporation, News International or Murdoch et al owns BSkyB"? Should be the HYS question.

    It's clear and evident that all of the above companies have a singular and specific agenda globally - not just in the UK?

    Political agendas within many governments are increasingly less to do with the electorate, but more to do with the power of media companies who fund them - therefore politicians fear them?

    That same power over their electorate is reinforced by satellite TV and print.

    Ordinary people, across the world: East and West, North and South are fed up with satellite streaming and propaganda via media giants. These media moguls make unbelievable amounts of money for themselves and their shareholders from conflict and fear.

    What do I mean by the above? satellite will divide you from others who receive a totally different message from the same satellite channels on a different continent? Think about it.

    So are we clear now? Enormous amounts of money are being made by dividing all countries, creeds, cultures, races and religions by fewer and fewer and larger news organisations.

    Just a few thoughts.

  • Comment number 85.

    Lets just be honest that it is NOT just BIG banks which pose a SERIOUS threat to a nation and can damage a nation in MANY WAYS.

    ANY entity which is so large that it has attained a position in which to persuade & cajole a government to behave in a manner which is advantageous to that entity, via an implied or otherise threat of negativity or damage, is in itself an enemy of FREEDOM and ENEMY of EQUALITY and FAIRNESS, as well as perverting JUSTICE.

    Whether its big banks, big media empires, big retailers, big industrys, or big unions, the FACT IS, POWER CORRUPTS.

    Even someone with a 100% pure marshmallow brain should be able to work out the reality/truth, as there is already stacks of information/evidence available.

  • Comment number 86.

    It is nonsensical to blame Murdoch for adverts on Sky Digital; he doesn't own tv channels like the sci-fi channel, or the horror channel, or living tv, or discovery channel etc. He merely provides a digital satellite broadcasting platform for other broadcasters to reach their audience.

    Richard Branson a billionaire just like Rupert Murdoch, provides exactly the same channels with exactly the same adverts on his Virgin media digital satellite broadcasting platform, yet I hear nobody complaining about his media empire.


    If you want free-to air broadcasting without adverts you are out luck, you still have to pay a state-enforced licence fee to the BBC for its advert-free channels.

    If Shakespeare were alive today he might have quoted "a subscription fee by any other name......"

  • Comment number 87.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 88.

    Monopolies are only a problem when they are abusing their position. As long as Virgin Media, BT Vision and the like are around offering the same services for a competitive price then it isn't a problem.

    BSKYB have on occasion tried to abuse this power by overcharging Virgin for SKY channels (such as SKY1, SKY SPORTS, SKY MOVIES.) However this has roughly been sorted out now.

    It should be looked at by the Competition Commission just to investigate the potential for abuse and the likelihood of abuse.

  • Comment number 89.

    The government should have no say in who owns a private company, as for people saying this deal will lead to a fox news style channel, if you don't like it then don't watch/ subscribe to it!

  • Comment number 90.

    Does it matter whether News Corp owns BSkyB?
    The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said that he intends to refer News Corporation's bid for BSkyB to the Competition Commission. Does it matter whether News Corporation owns BSkyB?

    Yes it most certainly does matter who owns BSkyB! It is absolutaly correct for Jeremy Hunt to refer this to the competition commission. The interests of the consumer and indeed the economy are Never the interests of Monopolies, they are only interested in how much they can charge and how much the shareholder will get. Any garantees News Corp might or might not give to protecting choice for the consumer, will just, like Krafts Foods takeover of Cadburies, Fly straight out of the proverbial window no sooner than it is signed.

    We really do need more really good, inteligent program content as well as Good sport content, rather than a plethora of repeats, soaps and yesterdays news re-hashed.

    There is also the matter, Mr Moderator, of my posting on the Iraq enquiry still marked: # 887. At 12:52pm on 22 Jan 2011, you wrote:
    This comment has been referred for further consideration. It is now 25th January, why no posting? everything is accurate, or has it hit someones nerve?

  • Comment number 91.

    56. At 1:48pm on 25 Jan 2011, C0uldDoBetter wrote:

    Of cause it matters! Media is the biggest psychological tool in the deciver’s arsenal and if the biggest Capitalist media organisation is allowed a monopoly. We won’t stand a chance against those who want to cheat and lie using subliminal propaganda. TV is far from an entertainment screen and any organisation who wants to broadcast to us, should be vetted and supervised as to their motives and if they are deemed detrimental to the country their licence should be revoked.

    As opposed to the BBC's 'balanced' view I suppose?
    The BBC have used left wing subliminal propaganda for years (and they admit it) fundamentally breaking their charter.

    -------------------

    Like to back that up with some evidence please.

  • Comment number 92.

    There should be limits to ensure plurality in the media.

    But frankly, I worry at least as much about the BBC as I do about Murdoch.

    The BBC is increasingly driven by its own agenda. I don't particularly like Sky News because of the format, but it is hard to discern any specific political agenda. Even the Sunday Times seems rather more impartial than the BBC.

    The BBC, on the other hand, has very clear agendas on a number of issues, including Murdoch, and it chooses its 'facts' to suit.

    So yes, Murdoch does need to be restrained. The BBC, on the other hand, needs to be broken up, and its news services replaced by something more fit for purpose, impartial, and not so wasteful and childish.

  • Comment number 93.

    1. At 11:39am on 25 Jan 2011, Aneeta Trikk wrote:
    " ... But I do have a view on plurality in the public service sector. Why should the BBC be the only publicly owned and financed broadcaster? Why isn't the license fee nest egg divided up into smaller competing public sector franchises that live and die via the people's choice to listen or watch? ... "

    Firstly, they don't, it is divided up. ITV, Channel 4 and, I think, channel 5 receive some of the licence fee funding as well.

    Also the whole point of the licence fee is so that there is a selection of programmes that don't live or die by people's choice to listen to or watch them. They are made for minority interest groups, perhaps, but important none the less. In democratic countries, it is not the majority that wins out, it is the majority that rule and they have to protect the rights of the minority. The licence fee is an important way of defending that principle.

    If you want popular programmes, watch satellite channels, (the majority of whose programmes are just repeats of programmes made by channels that do receive license fee money anyway).

    Fast food chains are popular places to eat, but nobody would argue they make food that has any quality or value.

  • Comment number 94.

    We don't know if it matters. It all depends on how BskyB behaves. It has the potential to allow a monopoly of opinion to be rammed down the public throat but I suspect that we discount 90% of what is reported anyway as being at best half truths and at worst being hype. We are now saturated with News and entertainment and the real bonus these days is to turn it all off and have your brain to yourself.

  • Comment number 95.

    87. At 4:20pm on 25 Jan 2011, Trench Broom wrote:
    " ... We have a state media funded by an enforced tax ... "

    No, we don't.

    " ... with a left wing monopoly on terrestrial television ... "

    Left wing bias? really?

    " ... asking whether a subscription-based company which only exists because people CHOOSE to buy their services, is too powerful? ... "

    The whole point of the licence fee is so that there are programmes out there that are made without the creators having to look over their shoulders at ratings all the time.

    " ... You couldn't make this up. The utter cheek and arrogance of the BBC is breathtaking ... "

    It sounds to me like you are making a whole lot of stuff up.

  • Comment number 96.

    84. At 4:15pm on 25 Jan 2011, corum-populo-2010 wrote:
    "Does it matter whether News Corporation, News International or Murdoch et al owns BSkyB"? Should be the HYS question.

    It's clear and evident that all of the above companies have a singular and specific agenda globally - not just in the UK?

    Political agendas within many governments are increasingly less to do with the electorate, but more to do with the power of media companies who fund them - therefore politicians fear them?

    ------

    This is what worries/angers me.

    Both the conservatives in the current government and labour in the previous government held meetings with Murdoch representatives before reaching power.

    What was agreed at these meetings remains secret, but I think its fair to assume that a businessman like Rupert Murdoch expected a quid pro quo for his support.

    So essentially the situation, as i see it, is that the last two governments have made secret deals with NewsCorp, which have been made solely to benefit their respective political parties, rather than the British people.

    As far as I'm concerned any political party which uses its governmental powers to secure partisan party support from an outside body such as NewsCorp must be guilty of corruption.


  • Comment number 97.

    "5. At 11:48am on 25 Jan 2011, AuntieLeft wrote:

    Not to me.
    I see more balanced reporting on Sky News than BBC News (Labour propaganda arm) which I find very sad and annoying as I am FORCED to pay for the BBC and not Sky which, if I found offensive or unbalanced, I could remove my subscription.
    I think this is called freedom of choice.
    I have no choice with the BBC, just force their pro Labour spin (ala Guardianesqe) on its viewers.
    As Jim Royle would say ‘balanced and independent reporting my arm’"


    ---------------------------

    You are not forced to pay for the BBC and you do have a choice.

    Don't like what you see and hear on the BBC, don't own a TV. Don't pay the TV tax.

    No-one will force you to own a TV and pay the TV Tax.

    It's as simple as that.

    As for Sky being more balanced. Yeah right. Like the Sun is intellectual reading.

    I believe it was yourself that stated all media is biased in another HYS topic, so how you can claim there is balance on one station is beyond me, there is no balance when there is a bias.

    As for NewsCorp owning all of Sky, whilst a monopoly is bad for the market the only real way to resolve such an issue is to vote with your wallets.

  • Comment number 98.

    70. At 3:09pm on 25 Jan 2011, milvusvestal wrote:
    "No."

    ----------

    Yes.

    Did I win? After all I am the one that most recently answered the question?

    OK, so I am being sarcastic, but just saying "no" or "yes" does not add to the discussion. Thanks.

  • Comment number 99.

    Does is matter whether News Corporation owns BSkyB?
    --Not unless you think that monopolies are unacceptable.

  • Comment number 100.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

 

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