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News Corp/BSkyB merger prompts media alliance criticism

A proposed merger between News Corp and BSkyB has been opposed by an alliance of media companies.

15 March 2011

An alliance of media organisations, which includes BT, the Guardian Media Group and Associated Newspapers, has set out its objections to a merger between News Corp and BSkyB.

Petitioning parliament for action on the issue, the group cited Ofcom guidance on the matter, which suggested that the combination would "give rise to serious media plurality concerns".

In a move that could prompt strike negotiations, the alliance warned that Newco, a spin-off company that will run Sky News, will be vulnerable to financial screw-turning from News Corp.

Similarly, it claimed that the safeguards put in place to ensure editorial independence are "weak".

"We regard the proposed undertakings as being fraught with uncertainty and unlikely to safeguard plurality," warned the alliance.

It added that the culture secretary should take these concerns into account and should forward the matter on to the Competition Commission.

This comes after BSkyB announced its intentions to conduct sales negotiations in the hopes of making a purchase deal for public Wi-Fi network The Cloud.

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