Ofcom boss ‘surprised’ by informality between Murdoch and government

The Guardian:

The outgoing head of the media regulator Ofcom has accused government representatives of showing favouritism to Rupert Murdoch’s companies.  Ed Richards said he was “surprised” by the informality of contact between executives and ministers during the failed bid by Murdoch’s News Corporation for BSkyB in 2011.

News Corp abandoned the controversial deal when it emerged that journalists at the News of the World had ordered the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler to be hacked.  The scandal led to the closure of the newspaper and raised questions over whether News Corp would be a “fit and proper” owner for BSkyB.

Richards told the Independent that communications between politicians’ offices and News Corp lobbyists during the process had not been balanced.  He said: “What surprised everyone about it – not just me – was quite how close it was and the informality of it and the extent to which it featured certain companies a lot more than others.  There was a widespread concern about the balance.”
It is easy to forget just how close the take-over came.  A lack of balance indeed.