Ofcom has ruled that Sky is a “fit and proper” company to hold a broadcasting licence but criticised former chairman James Murdoch’s conduct in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.
The media regulator launched an investigation into the satellite broadcaster after allegations that a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which owns 39% of BSkyB, hacked into the voicemails of celebrities and members of the public.
James Murdoch stepped down as BSkyB chairman in April in the wake of the scandal, saying he did not want the broadcaster to be undermined by “matters outside this company.”
Ofcom has today published a decision on its fit and proper assessment of Sky. Ofcom has an ongoing duty to be satisfied that all broadcast licensees are fit and proper.
In July 2011, in light of the public debate about phone hacking and other allegations, Ofcom confirmed that it had a duty to consider whether Sky was fit and proper to continue to hold its broadcast licences.
Ofcom considers that, on the evidence currently available and having taken into account all the relevant factors, Sky is fit and proper to hold its broadcast licences.
Ofcom’s duty to be satisfied that a licensee is fit and proper is ongoing. Should further relevant evidence become available in the future, Ofcom would need to consider that evidence in order to fulfil its duty.
Despite clearing Sky, Ofcom concluded that James Murdoch’s conduct as chief executive of News International “fell short” of the standards expected in relation to the company’s failure to uncover wrongdoing.
But the media watchdog also said there was no evidence that he knew of wrongdoing or that he was complicit in a cover-up.
“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.
“As Ofcom acknowledges, our track record of compliance in broadcasting is good.
“We are proud of our contribution as a broadcaster, the investments we make to increase choice for UK audiences and the wider benefits we create for the economy.
“After a lengthy review process, we are pleased that Ofcom has now reached its conclusion and we look forward to continuing to develop our business for the benefit of customers and shareholders alike.”
This story was originally published by Broadcast.