Ofcom set for UK High Court battle over Sky-Fox ruling

Esequiel Farfan
Febrero 15, 2018

A campaigning group opposed to Rupert Murdoch's takeover of Sky has won permission to launch a legal challenge to the media regulator's ruling that the broadcaster would remain "fit and proper" to hold a United Kingdom licence if it was owned by 21st Century Fox.

A high court in the United Kingdom has given campaigning group Avaaz permission to launch a legal challenge to the takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox, the Guardian reported. Avaaz accused Ofcom of not carrying out a thorough investigation of Fox News content or corporate governance failures across the Murdoch empire and clearing the way for the merger too easily. It also claimed the regulator had made errors when assessing Fox's compliance with the United Kingdom broadcasting code, drew "wrong conclusions" from allegations of sexual and racial harassment at Fox News, and ignored the role Rupert Murdoch's son, James, would play as chief executive of Fox.

The group then filed legal documents at the British High Court of Justice on September 29. "Ofcom didn't dig deep enough before declaring the Murdochs fit to own even more of our media".

"The case is arguable and may raise some important points of principle", said Justice Morris.

Ofcom said that it will defend its "fit and proper" assessment, which was independent, expert and based on the evidence.

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Fox and Sky didn't comment. Should Avaaz win its case, Ofcom would be forced to revisit its previous decision, which would result in further delays to a final decision on the bid.

Britain's High Court has now approved the legal challenge by Avaaz against Ofcom, saying it should be heard before the end of June.

"If the Murdoch empire is fit and proper to hold broadcasting licenses after massive hacking, harassment and hush money, then virtually anyone is", said Avaaz CEO Ricken Patel in response to the ruling.

"(Ofcom) got down there by steadily shifting the goalposts to ensure the Murdochs passed the test.

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