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Courts Activists win judicial review into Ofcom's Sky ruling

Sam Tobin reports from the High Court

MEDIA watchdog Ofcom is being taken to court over its ruling that Sky would be “fit and proper” to hold a broadcasting licence after being bought out by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

Activist group Avaaz has won the right to a judicial review of the decision, accusing the communications regulator of failing to investigate Fox News content or take account of alleged corporate governance failures in the Murdoch media empire.

Avaaz chief executive Ricken Patel said Ofcom’s conclusions had put its “licensing standards in the gutter.”

He said: “If the Murdoch empire is fit and proper to hold broadcasting licences after massive hacking, harassment and hush money, then virtually anyone is.”

Granting the judicial review, which will be heard before June 30, Mr Justice Morris said “the case is arguable and may raise some important points of principle.”

An Ofcom spokesman said: “We will defend our ‘fit and proper’ assessment, which was independent, expert and based on the evidence.”

Disney is currently in talks to buy Fox off the Murdoch family, which owns a 39 per cent stake and a majority of voting shares.

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