The companies behind The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Daily Mirror have joined forces with the BBC to oppose Rupert Murdoch’s bid to take over BSkyB.
British media outlets have put their historic differences aside to petition business secretary Vince Cable, demanding he halt the bid.
The signatories argue that allowing Murdoch’s News International newspapers – which command 37 per cent of the country’s national press – to integrate with satellite broadcaster BSkyB would adversely affect the UK’s media plurality.
BT and Channel 4 have also signed the petition, protesting the risk of NI becoming worth £7.5bn a year if the deal goes through.
Steven Barnett, professor of communications at the University of Westminster, told Journalism.co.uk that Murdoch’s “mushrooming empire and its corrosive influence on British public life” must be reined in.
He said that any other industry would have been condemned for the phone-hacking scandal enveloping Murdoch’s News of the World, but that News International’s “far-reaching” influence meant there was a “deafening silence” from the majority of the media, politicians and the police.
The public should be made aware of the “widespread fear being generated by a media empire ultimately controlled by one man,” he added. “I suspect they would be appalled.”
This article appears in issue 256 of Media Digest.