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BSkyB takeover: News Corp's special treatment?

Gerry Morrissey pictured in 2010 at the Houses of Parliament. Gerry Morrissey has questionned whether Jeremy Hunt is granting special treatment to News Corporation. Pic: Stefano Cagnoni

25 January 2011

Is Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation being afforded special treatment by culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt?

BECTU's general secretary, Gerry Morrissey, has questionned whether News Corporation is being afforded special, more favourable treatment, than other businesses facing a referral to the Competition Commission.

Today (25 January) Jeremy Hunt approved publication of Ofcom's report into the public interest issues raised by the proposed takeover. However, in a unique move, Mr Hunt granted News Corp six months to address the competition issues raised so far before the formal referral is made.

"We are concerned that this unusual delay in the referral gives News Corporation unprecented time to lobby for their case and could be an attempt by the minister to pre-judge decisions the Competition Commission might make."

BECTU has raised a number of objections to the takeover and made a formal submission to Ofcom last November.

"In addition, the public deserves reassurance that the Competition Commission will be properly equipped to deal with the issues once the referral is made," commented Gerry Morrissey.

The Commission is set to merge with the Office of Fair Trading as part of the government's overhaul of public sector bodies - dubbed the bonfire of the quangos - announced last October.

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