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BBC director general Mark Thompson has again spoken out against Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp.’s bid for the remaining 61 percent of BSkyB, this time using an interview on PBS’ Charlie Rose Thursday to warn against the consequences of the deal.
Thompson’s comments on U.S. television come ahead of a hotly anticipated speech later this month by News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch, who is expected to give further details of the bid when he delivers the inaugural Baroness Thatcher lecture in London October 21st.
“If the two [News Corp and Sky] were combined, there might be a significant loss of plurality in our media market,” Thompson said during an appearance on PBS’ “Charlie Rose” Thursday (via the UK Guardian).
“Cable, the relevant minister, will decide whether he wants to refer this. It’s not that they’ve done anything wrong. It’s just that there is a potential of an abuse of power,” Thompson warned.
Still, he didn’t go as far as to ask the government to block the deal, which, if cemented, would make News Corp. a dominant media player in the UK.
“We’re not saying there’s been a crime committed here,” Thompson said. “What we’re saying is there is — given the scale of the potential ownership in UK media –there’s a strong case for looking at it systemically and deciding whether or not anything needs to be done to address the issue.”
Murdoch is expected to notify the European Commission of its bid for the pay-TV channel within the next two weeks.
Thompson, whose BBC has frequently come under attack from BSkyB chairman James Murdoch, has been warning against the consequences of the deal for some months.
In August, delivering the prestigious James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, the BBC director general warned against the concentration of power the deal would represent if allowed to go through unopposed.
“If News Corp’s proposal to acquire all of the remaining shares in Sky goes through, Sky will not just be Britain’s biggest broadcaster, but a full part of a company which is also dominant in national newspapers as well as one of the Britain’s biggest publishers,” he said.
“It will be a concentration of cross-media ownership which would not be allowed in the United States or Australia, News Corp’s other two most important markets.”
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