Media regulator Ofcom has set up a dedicated team to investigate whether BSkyB is a ‘fit and proper’owner of a broadcasting licence, according to today’s Financial Times.
The paper reports that following preliminary investigations last year the regulator has now set up a ‘dedicated team in January to scrutinise material emerging from the Leveson Inquiry’and the Met’s investigations into phone-hacking and corruption.
The information was obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request made by the FT.
The Ofcom team is known as Project Apple and will ‘assess if BSkyB should still hold a broadcasting licence in light of phone-hacking scandal”.
The paper reports (behind paywall):
The intensifying scrutiny is a setback to James Murdoch, who has remained chairman of the satellite broadcasting company, in spite of stepping down last month as executive chairman of News International, which runs the group’s British newspapers.
The Ofcom probe is considering the status of both James Murdoch and News Corp, which holds a 39.1 per cent stake in BSkyB, as ‘fit and proper’persons to own the BSkyB licence.
Should Ofcom rule against them, it could threaten James Murdoch’s position as chairman of BSkyB or trigger a process that would force News Corp, chaired by Rupert Murdoch, to cut its stake in BSkyB to a level at which it was no longer deemed to exercise control.