Poll: News Corp/BSkyB investigation called for

The proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation should be subject to an independent investigation, according to an ICM poll.

The results revealed that 63 per cent of respondents support an independent probe into News Corp’s plans to acquire the 61 per cent stake it doesn’t already own.

The ICM survey was commissioned by telco BT, along with newspaper and media groups Guardian Media Group, Associated Newspapers , Trinity Mirror, Northcliffe Media and Telegraph Media Group Ltd. They formed an unlikely alliance in October 2010 when they wrote to Business Secretary Vince Cable suggesting that News Corp ownership of Sky alongside its existing ownership of The Sun, The News of the Word, The Times and The Sunday Times would significantly damage media plurality.

Media regulator Ofcom will report to Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Jeremy Hunt by December 31 on how the deal might affect British media and whether to refer the case to the Competition Commission. Secretary Cable was stripped of the power to decide the fate of the News Corp bid for the outstanding shares in BSkB after he was secretly recorded saying he had “declared war on Mr Murdoch and I think we are going to win”. Hunt has in the past praised News Corp’s role in developing Britain’s television news market.

Eighty-four per cent of those questioned said a single organisation should not be allowed to control too much of the news media, while 75 per cent said it was important to have competing independent sources of news in the UK. Some 44 per cent said they were opposed to the News Corp. deal, with five per cent in favour.

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