Jeremy Hunt asks for advice

July 11th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


The culture secretary is seeking fresh advice from regulators on News Corp’s takeover bid for BSkyB, amid the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

Business editor Robert Peston said Jeremy Hunt had written to Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) after the 168-year-old paper was shut down.

Our correspondent says the implication is that Mr Hunt could now refer the deal to the Competition Commission.

It might not be what most people want, referring to Ofcom, but Jeremy Hunt asking for advice is a stepin the right direction.

Hopefully Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading will give the right advice. Whether Hunt takes it or not will be another matter.

Vince Cable was biased, but so is Jeremy Hunt

December 23rd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

If Vince Cable, for expressing his opposition to the Murdoch take over of BSkyB, is unsuitable to decide whether it is appropriate or not, then surely Jeremy Hunt is as well.

Apart from privately meeting James Murdoch, Jeremy as openly said he has no objection to the deal. This statemnet might not be as inflamatory as Cables’ ‘war’, but still shows that he has preconceived ideas about it.

The business secretary is supposed to look at the reports/evidence or whatever and then make his mind up. Jeremy Hunt and Vince Cable are two sides of the same coin. Cable is coming at it from the side of opposition and would need a great deal of persuasion to approve the deal. Jeremy Hunt is coming at it from the other direction and would need persuadeing that it is a bad idea. Both are going to be influenced not just by whether this deal is good for the media as a whole and the plurity of the press but also by their chosen ideology, party pressure and of course, what they think the public want.

The business secretary is supposed to be ‘quasi-judicial’ in these cases, but just like the home secretary when it comes to reveiwing whether to release prisoners with a minimum sentence, they never could independent of party politics.

At least with an organisation like OFCOM/monopolies commission (or whoever it is) in this case, or a proper judge in the case of prisoners, there won’t be the consideration of trying to please the electorate, the party, lobbyists, businesses. With a non-political organisation looking at it a better decision can be made. Of course what that organisation is and how it’s put together is another discussion.

Personal bias will never be iradicated, but why add to it?

Should Sky be hosting an election debate?

March 2nd, 2010 § 8 comments § permalink

Should Sky be hosting a debate of the three main party leaders?

Sky may be a big name, but they’re not exactly a national broadcaster, are they? They have what? Ten million subscribers (and expected to lose about 17% of them) and the whole of the Sky owned channels have about 7% of the nations viewers. They are not open to everyone like the terrestrial channels are.
For example, if you hardly ever watch the BBC, you could still switch over for and watch the debate about domestic issues, but if you want to watch the debate based on international affairs, which is the one Sky will be hosting, you can’t unless you subscribe to Sky for 12 months. Big important football games are shown on terrestrial and not just satellite channels, so why is this debate restricted to such a small audience?

Many people not only do not want Sky, but cannot justify the expense. In these days of everyone having to tighten their belts and the nature of these debates, being part of the general election campaign, should such a massive amount of people not be able to see it?

The Scots may be moaning about the way that there will be no representative from their major parties (aren’t they having their own debates now?) but with Sky showing one of the debates, it is like one of the terrestrially broadcast events being shown only on STV.

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