Ofcom to study phone hacking evidence as it probes BSkyB through 'fit and proper' test
Media regulator Ofcom has escalated its ‘fit and proper’ investigation into BSkyB, having said that it will study evidence of phone hacking within News International, which could result in parent company News Corporation reducing its stake in the satellite broadcaster.
Following evidence given over two day by Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation at the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics, Ofcom has requesting private court documents held by the lawyers acting for the News of the World phone hacking victims.
Media Corp failed in a full takeover bid of BSkyB, of which is owns over a quarter of the shares, having been forced to withdraw following the revelations over phone hacking practices at the Sunday tabloid, which was subsequently closed by News International.
Following the ‘fit and proper’ test, Ofcom has powers to revoke the broadcasting license at BSkyB should it choose, as a result of its association with the Murdoch empire.
According to The Telegraph, the regulator said: “As part of [its] ongoing assessment, Ofcom has contacted News Group Newspapers requesting documents which it understands are held by the company and which may be relevant to this assessment. BSkyB is party to this correspondence.
“The documents Ofcom is seeking relate to the civil litigation cases. Ofcom is seeking to obtain documents that were ordered to be disclosed in the civil litigation between numerous complainants and News Group Newspapers.”