Media regulator Ofcom has clearly set out its role, powers and duties within News Corp’s proposed takeover of BSkyB.
In a letter to John Whittingdale, chairman of the parliamentary committee on culture, media and sport Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said the current undertakings made by News Corp in relation to the purchase were the subject of a consultation that would run for an extended period.
Richards reminds the committee that the regulator has to be satisfied on an ongoing basis that a licensee remains a “fit and proper person” to hold a broadcast licence. “It is not for Ofcom to investigate matters which properly lie in the hands of other authorities, such as the police and the criminal or civil courts, and clearly we cannot and should not act whilst allegations are unsubstantiated. It would be unfortunate if action by Ofcom at this moment in time prejudiced any ongoing processes by the proper authorities or failed to take into account relevant information that was subsequently disclosed which may be relevant to a thorough and proper assessment.” He added that Ofcom was continuing to monitor the situation carefully.