The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has warned of “private monopolies” in British media becoming like “state monopolies” such as the BBC, as Rupert Murdoch vies to take control of Sky News.
The proposed 21st Century Fox £11.7 billion takeover of Sky News, the UK’s third largest news broadcaster, was referred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in September by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport.
UKIP’s Culture and Arts spokesman, David Meacock, said he was glad the competition authority was investigating but insisted it was not for politicians to prejudge the outcome.
He also implied that those worried about a potential Murdoch monopoly in UK media should also be concerned about the BBC’s “state monopo[ly]”, as the BBC’s reach would still be larger than that of a combined Fox and Sky.
“Being as wary of private monopolies as State monopolies, I am glad that the potential merger… has been referred” to the CMA, he told Breitbart London in a statement.
The CMA has said they aim to assess whether there will be “a sufficient plurality of persons with control of the media enterprises serving audiences in the UK following the transaction”.
Yet, the CMA has not investigated the BBC’s larger and growing share of the market.
Mr. Meacock said he had “confidence” in the regulatory body, and that he failed “to see the relevance of any political party’s view at this moment in time”.
Politicians such as former Labour leader Ed Miliband (frequently a target of the Murdoch press) have been criticised for “political interference” in the CMA’s investigation.
The UKIP spokesman said the fact “the BBC would still be reaching a higher number of the UK population were the Fox-Sky merger to be allowed” was perhaps a reason why it is “time to reconsider whether the BBC should be broken up and privatised”.
He also slammed “the BBC’s complete failure to fulfil its role of guardians of high culture in recent years”.