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Charlie Beckett

November 20th, 2006

Foreign invasion?

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Charlie Beckett

November 20th, 2006

Foreign invasion?

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

It’s amazing how much of British commerical life is now run by foreigners. People used to worry when bits of UK PLC was taken over by international companies but now everything from our Water Companies to Chelsea FC is owned by people who don’t live here and by implication, might not have the best interests of this country at heart. That’s globalised capitalism baby, and who’s to say that the French, Germans, Russians etc who now run vasts swathes of our economy are doing a bad job?
Well, the place where it does appear to matter is the media. An Icelander is allowed to take over my football club without much more than passing (and culturally inaccurate) gibes about Eskimos, Cod or Frozen Food supermarkets. Football fans seem to have generally accepted that if most of the players are foreign then the chairman may as well be, too. But do we really want an American, for example, to have such a powerful position in the British media? Commentators have interpreted BSkyB’s purchase of part of ITV either as a sign of Rupert’s ambition for more control, or as a defensive move that shows he fears losing out in the future. But either way it reminds us of the Australian-born, American citizen’s influence in the British news market.
Personally, I think the Murdoch factor is exaggerated and that there is still plenty of pluralism and choice out there. I also think he has created some rather good and varied news products. Sky News for example is a vital competitor to keep BBC News 24 honest and efficient. But as the media landscape shifts and the very nature of what is a news organisation changes, the issues about ownership and politics will once again test government and the regulators.

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Charlie Beckett

Posted In: International | Journalism | Media

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