For several months we have been waiting for a report from OFCOM the UK broadcasting regulator and it has rolled out this morning. Now it was a long shot that the Murdoch organisation might be staked through the heart by the UK regulator, but the publication is interesting
Now Sky is trying to sell this as a complete vindication, with its statement
UK media regulator Ofcom has concluded that BSkyB is a "fit and proper" company to hold a broadcasting licence.
Ofcom was investigating the broadcaster in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that engulfed Rupert Murdoch's media empire, which owns 39% of BSkyB.
However, Ofcom has criticised former BSkyB chairman James Murdoch, Rupert's son, for his role in the scandal.
Ofcom said his actions "repeatedly fell short of the conduct" expected of a chief executive officer and chairman.
BBC News - Ofcom says BSkyB 'fit and proper' but James Murdoch criticised
"Ofcom is right to conclude that Sky is a fit and proper broadcaster. As a company, we are committed to high standards of governance and we take our regulatory obligations extremely seriously."
The report however contains a few bombs lobbed casually at the Murdochs.
Firstly paragraph 18
Nor, in our view, can it reasonably be concluded on the available documentary evidenceThis paragraph runs pretty much in Paralel to the Murdoch defence advanced at both the Leveson Inquiry and the later DCMS committee appearances. It may stand up to scrutiny at the present moment, but in the coming weeks, when people end up standing in the courts, or when the report of the Leveson Inquiry is published, we may see an entirely different implication emerge.
that there was an awareness on James Murdoch’s part either that evidence existed
indicating the involvement in unlawful activities of journalists other than Clive Goodman,
or that the desire to preserve confidentiality was a key factor in the settlement. There is
some documentary evidence that James Murdoch was aware of the Taylor claim prior to
10 June 2008. There is some documentary evidence that Tom Crone and Colin Myler
intended to brief James Murdoch in more detail, but there is no documentary evidence
showing that they actually did. In particular, Colin Myler forwarded to James Murdoch
the email chain of 7 June 2008, which contains information that ought to have caused
him significant concern. However, James Murdoch’s evidence is that he did not read
the chain to its end and there is no evidence to contradict his account
Then we have Paragraph 28
Over the following months, proceedings were issued against NGN by a number of persons who thought their phones had been hacked. James Murdoch has given evidence to the Leveson Inquiry that he assumed that information relevant to theA paragraph that suggests that defence information is being taken as read. once again something that could come apart quickly if things go badly in the court cases. But all is couched in such terms that OFCOM is taking no responsibility for its current answer.
litigation was being preserved. We have no evidence that this is not the case.
and then we have paragraph 40
However, we would be concerned if statements, which have surfaced from time to timewhich lays it open for OFCOM to come back, if the situation changes, and seems to be worded in such a way that it leads towards the new wave of burglary allegations covered in the previous two diaries here. If you follow the logic of this paragraph it is rather as if OFCOM has painted itself into a corner, and if further happens, thenthey will have little choice but to act more strongly.
in the course of the Leveson Inquiry and the work of the CMSC, that News Corporation
and its subsidiaries have exerted pressure over politicians and others in support of News
Corporation’s commercial interests, went beyond the legitimate area of political debate
and transgressed into inappropriate pressure or behaviour related to furthering News
Corporation’s commercial interests. News Corporation has a large shareholding in Sky
plc and has made assertions in other contexts about the degree of control it exercises
over it. Should further material evidence or findings become available we will take them
into account in relation to our continuing duty.
In other news, We have had a further four arrests in the last two days. Three more News international journalists, (two for corruption and one in connection with stolen phones) and a police officer
Its all coming along
11:35 AM PT: And a comment from The BBC's Business editor
Clear implication of Ofcom report is BSkyB would have been declared "not fit & proper" if James Murdoch had not stood down as chairman