Ofcom primed for ‘fit and proper’ assessment of Sky, 21st Century Fox as public interest probes take place | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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As 21st Century Fox’s takeover of Sky rolls on, James Murdoch and other executives will face a fit and proper assessment of their ability to manage the pay-TV firm by Ofcom on an ongoing basis, the UK regulator has revealed.

Sky 14 October 2016On 3 March, when the UK Government formally notified the European Commission of the 21st Century Fox acquisition of the pay-TV giant, UK Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Karen Bradley, noted that the deal raised public interest issues.

Now, having announced on 6 March that it had a duty to be satisfied that broadcast licensees are fit and proper on an ongoing basis, and considering requests for clarity on when such an assessment may occur, Ofcom confirmed that its probe would be carried out in the same timeframe as any public interest test, if indeed it is asked to conduct one by Bradley who indicated she will make her decision on whether to do so by 17 March.

In a statement, the UK regulator said: “We will set out our approach to this fit and proper assessment once it is clear whether or not we will be asked to conduct a public interest assessment. Ofcom’s ongoing duty under the Communications Act to assess whether a licensee is fit and proper is a separate legal process to any public interest assessment that Ofcom may be asked to make by the Secretary of State. However, the issues we may be required to consider in any public interest assessment may overlap with our own consideration of Sky’s fitness to hold broadcasting licences in the event of a change of control.”