Ofcom could revoke TV license

LONDON — The U.K. communications regulator Ofcom is to speak to the police to see if there is a case for investigating if News Corp. is “fit and proper” to hold a broadcasting license.

Ofcom CEO Ed Richards said the regulator is “monitoring the situation closely,” in reference to allegations that News Corp.’s News of the World newspaper was involved in phone hacking and police corruption.

Under the Broadcasting Act, Ofcom has a duty “to continue on an ongoing basis to be satisfied that any person (which will include controlling directors and shareholders) holding a broadcasting license remains fit and proper to hold those licenses,” Richards said in a letter to John Whittingdale, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in the U.K’s House of Commons.

“In considering whether any licensee remains a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold broadcasting licenses, Ofcom will consider any relevant conduct of those who manage and control such a license,” he said.

As the value of the paybox’s stock price continued to fall and at least one advertiser, Renault, announced it is pulling its advertisements from all News International titles, analysts in the City of London were beginning to think that News Corp. may have lost its battle to own BSkyB outright, at least for the time being.

Sam Hart, media analyst at broker Charles Stanley, told Media Guardian: “Murdoch’s plan to bid for the satellite operator has been kicked into touch.

“Shareholders are discounting the possibility that this bid won’t happen for the foreseeable future.

“Some people wonder if it will happen at all. It could take years before the various inquiries have wound up, so the deal has been pushed much further back than anyone would have guessed a week ago.”

The latest public consultation by the media minister Jeremy Hunt on the proposed takeover ended July 8, with more than 150,000 responses from those keen to scotch the bid.

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