UK PM demands an end to Murdock's media empire

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  1. ejazr

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    BBC News - Miliband calls for limit to News International's power

    Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for new media ownership rules to limit the "dangerous" concentration of power in Rupert Murdoch's hands.

    Mr Murdoch had an "unhealthy" market share that led to "abuses of power", Mr Miliband told the Observer.

    It comes as Mr Murdoch's company, News International, placed a second round of adverts in national newspapers saying how it will address wrongdoing.

    It shut the News of the World last week amid phone hacking allegations.

    With that closure, The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and 39% of digital broadcaster BSkyB remain in the News Corporation stable.

    Under pressure from the entire British political establishment, Mr Murdoch dropped plans to buy out the rest of British Sky Broadcasting.

    Calling for new ownership rules, Mr Miliband said: "I think that we've got to look at the situation whereby one person can own more than 20% of the newspaper market, the Sky platform and Sky News.

    "I think it's unhealthy because that amount of power in one person's hands has clearly led to abuses of power within his organisation. If you want to minimise the abuses of power then that kind of concentration of power is frankly quite dangerous."

    He told the Observer that current media ownership rules were outdated, describing them as "analogue rules for a digital age" that do not take into account the advent of mass digital and satellite broadcasting.

    In other developments:

    The Metropolitan Police has disputed reports about links between former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, arrested over the phone-hacking scandal, and a stay at Champneys luxury health resort by its commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson after an operation. Champneys PR consultant was Mr Wallis. Scotland Yard said: "The accommodation and meals were arranged and provided by Stephen Purdew, MD of Champneys, who is a personal family friend who has no connection with, or links to, his [Sir Paul's] professional life," the Met said.

    An advert placed by News International in national newspapers on Sunday describes how the company is "putting right what's gone wrong"
    Several Sunday newspapers feature promotions in an attempt to woo former readers of the News of the World, which was the UK's best selling newspaper

    News International says it has set up an independent management and standards committee to see how the company can prevent similar instances happening again

    News International has asked law firm Olswang to carry out an investigation and a former High Court judge is overseeing the company's compensation scheme for hacking victims.

    So far, celebrities including actress Sienna Miller and football pundit Andy Gray have accepted damages from the compensation fund, believed to be worth £20m.

    The Liberal Democrats have written to media regulator Ofcom calling for it to investigate whether the owners of the BSkyB licence are "fit and proper" following the allegations around News Corp.

    Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes, media spokesman Don Foster and party president Tim Farron asked the watchdog to investigate in light of "the manifest public concern about News International's activities, the close integration of News International with its parent company News Corporation, (and) News Corp's effective control of BSkyB".

    A spokeswoman for Ofcom said: "We received this letter early on Friday evening. We will be considering our response next week."

    She added that the regulator was continuing to gather information and has already written "to a number of relevant authorities and can confirm that follow-up meetings will now be taking place."
     
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