29 August 2009

UK - James Murdoch hits out at BBC

James Murdoch has launched a scathing attack on the BBC, describing the corporation's size and ambitions as "chilling" and accusing it of mounting a "land grab" in a beleaguered media market. News Corporation's chairman and chief executive in Europe and Asia also heavily criticised media industry regulator Ofcom, the European Union and the government, accusing the latter of "dithering" and failing to protect British companies from the threat of online piracy. He described the BBC's purchase of the travel guide publisher Lonely Planet as a "particularly egregious example of the expansion of the state" and compared government intervention in broadcasting with failed attempts to manipulate the international banana market in the 1950s. Murdoch added that the BBC's news operation was "throttling" the market, preventing its competitors from launching or expanding their own services, particularly online. News International, the News Corp subsidiary that owns the company's British newspapers, including the Sun and the Times, is currently considering introducing charges for all its websites.