BSkyB tainted by hacking

Last week Ofcom requested of News International that it hand over information on hacking.

It wants the documents that News Int has been ordered by Lord Justice Moss to give to alleged hacking victims who are suing the UK newspaper group owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

The media regulator wants the information as part of its enquiry into whether BSkyB is fit and proper to hold a broadcasting licence.

This is significant: it is the first confirmation that News Int's failure to prevent hacking is a material consideration in the decision about whether BSkyB, which is 39% owned by News Corp, is a fit and proper broadcaster.

It raises the possibility that News Corp could be forced to materially reduce its shareholding, so that it would no longer be seen to have a material influence over BSkyB.

UPDATE 16:55 BST

Image copyright AP
Image caption Ofcom is assessing whether BSkyB is a fit and proper broadcaster.

I understand that News International will supply the hacking information requested by Ofcom.

PS. Below is the script of my radio piece on this, in case it's of interest:

"It is highly significant that Ofcom, the media regulator, has asked News International to hand over information on hacking by journalists at the News of the World.

Ofcom wants the documents that News Intenerational has been ordered to give to alleged hacking victims who are suing the UK newspaper group.

This is the first time Ofcom has asked for such information from News International or its parent News Corporation in relation to its investigation of whether BSkyB should retain its broadcasting licence.

It is the first official confirmation that News International's failure to prevent hacking is a material consideration in a decision about whether BSkyB, which is 39% owned by News Corp, is a fit and proper broadcaster.

In that sense, there seems to have been contagion from the wrongdoing at News International to BSkyB.

It raises the possibility that News Corporation could be forced to materially reduce its shareholding, so that it would no longer be seen to have a material influence over the broadcaster.

This would enrage Rupert Murdoch, the creator of BSkyB, who regards the UK's most profitable media group as one of his most precious assets."