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Poll on Sky takeover bid: Brits don’t trust Rupert Murdoch

  • Only 6% of people in Britain think Murdoch can be trusted to keep his promises, according to a new poll
  • More than three quarters of people think the government should do a full investigation into misconduct at Murdoch’s companies before allowing him to own more of Britain’s media

As Secretary of State Karen Bradley prepares to announce her decision on Rupert Murdoch’s bid to take over the rest of Sky, an overwhelming majority of the British public say the media mogul cannot be trusted and urge the government to fully investigate his companies before allowing him to own more of the country’s media.

The nation-wide poll, conducted on July 5 and 6 by ICM on behalf of the campaign group Avaaz, surveyed more than 2,000 people in the UK ahead of the Secretary of State’s decision on Murdoch’s takeover bid for Sky. It found that of people in Britain:

  • Less than a quarter (22%) trust Theresa May’s government to make a fair decision in the public interest on Murdoch’s Sky bid;

  • Just 6% think Rupert Murdoch can be trusted to keep his promises;

  • More than three quarters (76%) think the government should do a full investigation into misconduct in Murdoch’s companies before allowing him to own more media.

British regulator Ofcom recently found a “grave failure of corporate governance” at Rupert Murdoch’s US-based Fox News, but still recommended that no further investigation was required. Karen Bradley has the power to overrule Ofcom and require a full investigation into the deal on Broadcasting Standards grounds as well as plurality grounds.

While Rupert Murdoch set up a new compliance policy at Fox in response to Ofcom’s demand, scandals at his companies continue, including a massive sexual harassment scandal at Fox News. This poll shows that UK citizens are unconvinced Murdoch is trustworthy or can be held to his word. It also suggests that Britons are wary of the government’s ability to make this landmark decision based on the public’s best interest.

Meredith Alexander, Campaign Director at Avaaz, said: “This poll clearly shows the level of public mistrust in Rupert Murdoch owning any more of our media, and Karen Bradley will be endangering British democracy if she doesn’t push for a deeper probe into the bias and lies already broadcast by Fox News in the UK and the corporate governance disasters of phone-hacking, sexual harassment and hush money. She could face a legal challenge if she doesn’t act in the public interest.”

The poll comes on the back of a campaign that was signed by over 70.000 people in the UK urging the Secretary of State to conduct an indepth probe into the takeover bid. It also follows a public consultation on Murdoch’s Sky takeover bid, in which Avaaz submitted several lengthy submissions. One legal submission threatened a judicial review should the Secretary of State decide not to refer the bid for further investigation on both plurality and broadcasting standards grounds.

For more information or interviews please contact:

Will Davies, +1 646-628-1210 or [email protected]

Methodology:

The survey was carried out online by ICM between July 5-6, 2017 from a sample size of 2010 adults (aged 18+). Results have been weighted and are representative of the UK. All survey figures, unless otherwise stated, are from ICM.