News Corp. opposes U.K. media rules shift

Murdoch-led org focuses on BBC strength

News Corp. has opposed calls for the U.K. government to set new limits on media ownership, and is convinced that a greater range of voices across broadcasting, print and online have emerged in recent years.

In its submission to communications regulator Ofcom’s review of media plurality, Rupert Murdoch’s org said it would be wrong to “set absolute limits on news market share.”

“Markets are working and the trend continues to be towards greater plurality rather than less plurality,” News Corp. observed.

But the conglom, still reeling from the phone hacking and police corruption scandals at its now defunct U.K. tabloid the News of the World, drew attention to the power of the BBC in the media landscape.

It described the BBC “as the largest provider, by any measure, of news on TV, over the radio and over the Internet” in Blighty.

It said it was “difficult to imagine that any cross-media market share test that would be adopted would not already be triggered by the BBC’s news provision.”

There have been calls from pols and media campaigners to tighten U.K. media ownership rules following the phone-hacking row and the revelations about the Murdochs’ close ties to the U.K.’s political elite.

In a separate submission to the media plurality review, satcaster BSkyB, which is controlled by News Corp., also urged Ofcom to include the BBC in any assessment of media plurality.

The Daily Mail, normally a fierce critic of the BBC, called for a cap limiting the amount of U.K. news provision any one org can have, but said the Beeb should be excluded from this because of its special status as a pubcaster.