openDemocracyUK

Is it time for Murdoch's empire to be reined in?: A fascinating debate on News Corp's bid to take over BSkyB

Is this the moment to halt the expansion of Richard Murdoch's media empire in the UK? An OurKingdom post, which presents the media mogul's bid for full ownership of the country's most powerful commercial broadcaster as a threat to our democracy, has sparked an urgent debate between the author, Oliver Huitson, and David Elstein, an influential figure in the British media industry.
Niki Seth-Smith
2 December 2010

murdoch.jpg
Is this the moment to halt the expansion of Richard Murdoch's media empire in the UK? The UK media regulator OFCOM has been asked to rule on whether Rupert Murdoch's company can acquire all of BSkyB. If the takeover goes ahead, News Corp would take full ownership of the country's most powerful commercial broadcaster.

The decision, described by some as the 'Berlusconi moment', prompted an OurKingdom post by Oliver Huitson who presented the media mogul's bid for full ownership of the broadcaster as a threat to our democracy. It sparked a strong debate between him and David Elstein, an influential figure in the British media industry who has worked for both the BBC and BSkyB (and is Chair of openDemocracy's board).

The exchange is in the comments following Oliver Huitson's article 'Can Murdoch be Stopped?...'

Excerpt from Oliver Huitson, author of the article:

Its not a question of punishing him, its attempting to keep media as an open environment not dominated by one man. I appreciate your arguments for his business acumen but is there not a point when success in media becomes a problem for democracy, and isnt that more important than Murdoch's bottom line? We could debate this endlessly, but the upper echelons of Westminster presumably have a pretty good idea of his real power - and judging by their actions they seem to think its substantial, as i do.

Excerpt from David Elstein:

The chorus of hostility to the News Corp bid for BSkyB is largely based on atavistic impulses.  Big is bad, Murdoch is worse.  Yet the bid - as far as I can see - makes absolutely no difference to media plurality (perhaps Ofcom will disagree).

It is a model debate, with a vigorous exchange of views, clearly set out, without the personal attacks or denigration that so often mar internet comments. Read the full exchange here.

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics based on class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put the need for protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this an opportunity for a realignment around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

Who is bankrolling Britain's democracy? Which groups shape the stories we see in the press; which voices are silenced, and why? Sign up here to find out.

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData