Miliband calls for break-up of Murdoch empire

UK opposition leader says concentration of power in News International led to “abuses of power”.

Rupert Murdoch controls a vast swath of international media through his News Corporation [AFP]

Ed Miliband, the British opposition leader, has called for Rupert Murdoch’s British media empire to be broken up following the scandal over phone hacking at his News of the World tabloid.

The chief of the Labour party says such a concentration of power is “quite dangerous”.

“I think that we’ve got to look at the situation whereby one person can own more than 20 per cent of the newspaper market, the Sky platform and Sky News,” Miliband said in an interview published in the Observer newspaper on Sunday.

“I think it’s unhealthy because that amount of power in one person’s hands has clearly led to abuses of power within his organisation.”

He has led the charge against Murdoch in the past fortnight, calling for the resignation of Rebekah Brooks, the News International chief executive who quit on Friday, and steering the political opposition to the BSkyB bid.

Miliband’s latest attack came amid British media reports that Brooks was arrested at a London police station on Sunday as part of an investigation into phone hacking and bribery.

British police would not confirm that the 43-year-old woman they arrested was Brooks.

Last week, a parliamentary committee summoned Murdoch, Brooks, and Murdoch’s son James, the chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia, to its session on Tuesday to answer questions about the scandal.

Murdoch closed the News of the World last week because of the scandal but he still owns the Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun newspapers as part of his News International division of the larger, international News Corporation.

And while News Corp was forced to abandon an offer for control of pay-TV giant BSkyB, it still retains 39 per cent of the company, which has more than ten million household subscribers to its multi-platform television service.

News International is also reportedly planning to publish a Sunday version of the Sun to replace the News of the World.

Miliband called for bipartisan agreement on new media rules and argued that the existing legislation is outdated, “analogue rules for a digital age”

Miliband’s own popularity has benefited from his aggressive pursuit of Murdoch and the London police officials whose links to News Corp have been exposed.

His approval rating has risen seven points from last month, according to a poll commissioned by the Independent newspaper.

David Cameron, Britain’s Conservative prime minister, who has met New Corp executives more than all other media bosses combined during his tenure, has seen his rating fall three points.

Source : News Agencies


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