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NUJ backs petition as it calls upon Jeremy Hunt to review BSkyB broadcast deal with BBC

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By Stephen Lepitak, -

January 31, 2012 | 2 min read

The National Union of Journalists has called upon Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to end payments by the BBC to BSkyB through his upcoming Communications Review.

The NUJ is targeting media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the deal with BSkyB that costs the BBC ‘tens of millions’ each year to pay for the platform to carry and transmit its programmes, a law that the union claims is an ‘outrage’.

In a statement on its website, the NUJ has claimed, “These unbelievable regulations cost our public broadcasters up to £100 million a year. Rather than being paid for their valuable content, they actually have to pay BSkyB to show their programmes.”

Hunt is being called upon to review the deal in his forthcoming communications green paper which aims to set out the Communications Act that governs UK media.

“These are our millions -- handed over in license fees to fund British content, not to boost Murdoch’s profits. But an unfair system of “retransmission fees” designed by Murdoch leaves the BBC and other broadcasters with no choice. They are forced to pay BSkyB to show their channels, even though they add huge value to the satellite platform -- accounting for 41% of all shows watched on BSkyB and vastly increasing customer retention,” the NUJ added, claiming that Murdoch’s ‘cozy relationship’ with politicians allowed this deal to remain in place.

It has called upon members to sign an online petition, aiming for 75,000 signatories, to highlight the issue to Hunt. At the time of writing the petition had been signed by just over 59,000 people.

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