The end of Murdoch media?

12 July 2011 — Avaaz

Yesterday Murdoch pulled a last minute manoeuvre to exclude his company’s outrageous hacking practices from the BSKyB deal review. Let’s call on the government to immediately rule that the Murdochs aren’t fit and proper to own half our commercial media. Tomorrow this will be debated in Parliament. Let’s beat the Murdoch mafia – sign the urgent petition now

Hacking murdered children’s phones, paying off police, destroying evidence of crimes, threatening politicians — MPs are saying the Murdoch empire has “entered the criminal underworld”. But Murdoch is still calling the shots and could still get the BSkyB prize.

Yesterday, he pulled a cunning manoeuvre at the last hurdle, meaning regulators will review the deal solely on plurality, not the outrageous immorality of his company’s practices. But British law says media owners must be “fit and proper” to be trusted with broadcast licenses. If we demand that now, we can influence the debate tomorrow in Parliament and kill the deal once and for all.

People power has brought this deal to its knees — our 160,000 letters last week were critical in getting the deal referred to the Competition Commission. But we cannot stop now: the hacking scandal is our best chance in a generation to end Murdoch’s reign of fear and smear over our democracy. Let’s make sure Cameron and Hunt immediately ensure the BSkyB deal is assessed on whether Murdoch is “fit and proper” to be given half our country’s commercial media. Click to sign the urgent petition and forward this email to everyone — we have just 24 hours until the Parliamentary debate:

Murdoch’s media — From the News of the World to the Sun to the Sunday Times — has corrupted our society, our politics and our police. His staff have listened in to grieving widows of soldiers who died in Iraq, a war that Murdoch’s global media empire promoted. They stole a sitting Prime Minister’s bank information and his family’s medical records, and hacked into the phones, computers and homes of thousands of people. They paid the police for information, and got the first hacking investigation stopped after meeting senior officers. And James Murdoch approved cheques to hush up victims who threatened action — a criminal obstruction of justice.

As the Murdoch empire’s vile dealings have been uncovered, he has fought back to try to save his lucrative BSkyB TV deal. First, he pulled the News of the World. Then, yesterday, he surprised Jeremy Hunt at the last minute by withdrawing his proposed undertakings for Sky News, forcing Hunt to refer the deal to the Competition Commission and buying time for the political temperature to cool to ensure the deal he so badly wants is judged only on market share, not his company’s criminality.

So far the Murdochs have been protected by fear. They run smear campaigns against their enemies, threatening the career of any politician who challenges them. But the fear is melting away, and for the first time our politicians could take steps to stop him, by ruling Murdoch unfit to own our media and forcing him to give up control of his empire in the UK. Tomorrow Parliament could make this move — it’s a breathtaking chance to improve British media and democracy in one fell swoop — let’s bring a massive outcry to achieve it:

It won’t be easy. When the hacking scandal broke in earnest a few months ago, David Cameron spent much of his Christmas week socializing with Murdoch executives. Murdoch’s mafia power extends deep into our government. But together we have already pushed this deal to the limit — now let’s bury it. But if we act fast now, the government and regulators will have to subject this deal to the fullest public interest tests – which it simply cannot pass.

With hope,

Alex, Sam, Ricken, Alice, Amy, Brianna, Laura and the rest of the Avaaz team

More Information:

Murdoch fights to stop hacking rot

Bid referred to Competition Commission

Murdoch in danger of sky falling in on his empire

Analysts Cut BSkyB As News Corp Deal Seen Dragging Into Next Year

Legal opinion on Hunt’s option to trigger fit and proper test

Decision on BSkyB could take weeks after surge in online campaigning

Public just don’t trust Murdoch

News International papers targeted Gordon Brown

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