Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Five-year promise to keep Sky News independent

Five-year promise to keep Sky News independent

Any appointment to the Sky News editorial board by Fox's Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee would have to be approved by the U.K. Culture Minister or by U.K. regulators.

21st Century Fox has proposed an independent editorial board for United Kingdom news channel Sky News as part of what it calls "firewall" remedies that it argues should help it seal its planned deal to take full control of European pay TV giant Sky.

In response, Fox pledged a series of measures to "guarantee" the editorial independence of Sky News.

Working under the assumption that the CMA does not change its mind, the conglomerate said its "proposed firewall remedies represent a comprehensive and clear cut solution that directly addresses the origin of the CMA's adverse provisional findings".

The Murdoch-owned group has tabled a series of measures to "guarantee" the editorial independence of Sky News following concerns from Britain's competition watchdog that a tie-up would hand the tycoon too much control over United Kingdom media.

In addition, "no employee or officer" of 21st Century Fox or member of the Murdoch family would "influence or attempt to influence the editorial choices made by the head of Sky News".

Fox noted that the combined effect of its proposals meant that "there could be no circumstances in which, postTransaction, the MFT or members of the Murdoch family could influence, whether directly or indirectly, the editorial line or policy of Sky News".

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9 December 2016: 21st Century Fox tables a formal £11.7 billion takeover bid for broadcaster Sky, offering to buy the 61% of the business it does not already own.

Murdoch's 21st Century Fox is seeking to consolidate its control over Sky amid pressure from competitors such as Netflix, Google and Amazon.

That is one of the reasons Fox is rumored to prefer Disney over Comcast, as the telecommunications company's purchase of more entertainment assets could face heavier scrutiny from regulators.

But while its bid to take over Sky was agreed in theory more than a year ago has been met with fierce opposition by Labour MPs.

Sky has previously said that it could close Sky News if the Fox deal was blocked, a move that would eliminate the media plurality issue at a stroke.

The Authority will make a final decision with a report submitted to Matthew Hancock, the Secretary of State, by 1st May.

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