Union leaders unite to oppose Sky Fox deal
31 March 2017
Trade union leaders have submitted the following joint statement to Ofcom in response to the public consultation that closed yesterday:
As UK trade unions we are concerned by the proposed merger of 21st Century Fox Inc and Sky plc. Britain has one of the most concentrated media environments in the world, with three companies controlling 71 per cent of national newspaper circulation and five companies in command of 81 per cent of local newspaper titles. Sky and NewsCorp are already the biggest commercial news producers in the UK. Sky News Radio is the main news supplier to more than 280 commercial stations. Sky’s only real competitor in radio news production is the BBC. In television, there are now only two UK-based 24-hour TV news channels – Sky News and the BBC News Channel.
We oppose the merger because it will have a damaging impact on journalism, media plurality and democracy.
If the merger goes ahead it will mean the Murdoch family will effectively become the largest newspaper provider, the third-largest TV provider, the second-largest provider of radio news content and the fourth-largest online news provider.
The merger would make Rupert Murdoch the only person ever to control a substantial share of wholesale news provision on all the main news platforms and be a strong presence on leading third-party sites, such as YouTube and Yahoo, further extending the company’s reach. Sky News online is the most widely featured news source on Yahoo’s UK news page, accounting for more than 25 per cent of articles in February 2017 and more than 50 per cent of headlines.
Free, independent journalism and media diversity are crucial to our democracy. We believe the risks posed by further concentration of media ownership fundamentally undermines the public interest.
Seamus Dooley - NUJ acting general secretary
Mick Cash - RMT general secretary
Manuel Cortes - TSSA general secretary
Kevin Courtney - NUT general secretary
Ronnie Draper - BFAWU general secretary
Steve Gillan - POA general secretary
Ian Lawrence - NAPO general secretary
Len McCluskey - Unite general secretary
Bob Monks - URTU general secretary
Gerry Morrissey - Prospect head of BECTU
Tim Roache - GMB general secretary
Mark Serwotka - PCS general secretary
John Smith - MU general secretary