The UK’s Green MEPs have written to the EU competition commissioner seeking to block the takeover of Sky by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, arguing that it will lead to an over-concentration of media power and threaten democracy.
In the letter to Commissioner Vestager, the MEPs argue that media pluralism is essential for a free society and healthy democracy and argue the proposed takeover works against the public interest.
The MEPs point to the fact Britain has one of the most concentrated media environments in the world, with 3 companies in control of 71% of national newspaper circulation and 5 companies in command of 81% of local newspaper titles. Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, said:
“Media ownership is already extremely concentrated in Britain, but so too in Europe and globally and this poses a threat to our democratic values. We are urging Commissioner Vestager to investigate this takeover bid and consider whether it is likely to boost or weaken competition in the media industry and enhance or undermine the strength of EU democracy.”
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East added:
“No democracy should tolerate the idea of its press being left in the hands of a vindictive tycoon – to borrow a phrase from one of Rupert Murdoch’s UK media organs.
“Allowing one billionaire press baron to take control of a media empire which has the power to influence its 50m viewers, subscribers, and readers, and hold even greater sway over the political agenda is the antithesis of media plurality and manifestly against the public interest.”
Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, concluded:
“This bid is not just a bad idea but frankly a dangerous idea, with the potential for setting an alarming precedent in Europe. When a variety of viewpoints, thoughts, and opinions are stifled by one voice and company controlling the vast majority of outlets, then democracy is imperiled.