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MPs to quiz Ofcom on Sky takeover

October 3, 2017

By Colin Mann

UK communications regulator Ofcom is to face questions from parliament’s House of Commons Digital, Culture Media and Sport Committee on October 10th. It is expected that the session will cover the Fox/Sky merger, BBC regulation, and the impact of Brexit.

Representing Ofcom will be Sharon White, Chief Executive of Ofcom and Dame Patricia Hodgson, Chairman of Ofcom.

MPs are expected to discuss the Fox/Sky merger following Ofcom’s report (June 2017) which suggested there were grounds for an investigation of the Murdoch’s family control of the UK news landscape. The case has since been referred by the Secretary of State for DCMS, Karen Bradley, to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for a further six month investigation. The Secretary of State will appear before the Committee in a separate session on October 11th.

Six months after Ofcom assumed responsibility from the BBC Trust in April 2017, the Committee will consider the effectiveness of strategy for regulating the BBC, and discuss any challenges faced during the transition. Problems including diversity and representation were recently highlighted after the broadcaster published details of higher-earner salaries.

Also up for discussion is the potential effect of Brexit on consumers of UK communications.

In her first appearance before the newly-formed Committee, it is expected that MPs will ask Bradley about her decision to refer the proposed Fox/Sky merger to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The Committee is also likely to ask questions on the potential impact of Brexit on the creative industries and tourism, press regulation and the future implementation of recommendations from the Leveson inquiry, future regulation of the gambling industry and the Data Protection Bill.


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