Sky/21ST Century Fox: Merger

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:38 am on 16th March 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport) 11:38 am, 16th March 2017

I thank the Secretary of State for advance sight of her statement. I am pleased that she will intervene in the proposed merger of Sky and Fox, and that she will ask Ofcom to investigate the deal. Scottish National party Members have consistently voiced our support for media plurality and our commitment to broadcasting standards. There are valid concerns about the merger, which will increase the influence of Rupert Murdoch and his family in the UK’s media. There are concerns regarding a number of breaches of broadcasting standards by Fox, as well as News Corporation’s past behaviour and corporate governance failures.

Many people highlight the fact that part 2 of the Leveson inquiry has yet to be commenced, and they question whether such a significant deal can go ahead before that happens. This is not the first time that there has been an attempt to take over Sky, and we should be mindful of why the previous bid courted such controversy and failed.

At the same time, it should be acknowledged that television is adapting to changes in viewing habits and competition throughout the world. Some will argue that investment in Sky might allow the UK to thrive in the international arena and continue to compete with competitors such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. We welcome the fact that Ofcom will report on the public interest grounds of media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards, as well as conducting a fit and proper assessment. I trust and believe that that will provide the Secretary of State with the necessary recommendations on how to proceed, and I look forward to Ofcom’s conclusions.