Speculation over the future of the British Sky Broadcasting ( BSkyB), partly owned by Rupert Murdoch, was on Thursday set to rest for the time being after the media regulator Ofcom ruled that it was a ``fit and proper’’ company to hold a broadcasting licence.
However, it said it could revisit the issue "should further evidence become available" as a result of ongoing criminal investigations into the phone- hacking scandal surrounding Mr. Murdoch’s media group which has 39 per cent stake in Sky.
Ofcom also strongly criticised Mr Murdoch’s son James Murdoch, former chairman of Sky, for his role in the hacking scandal. It said his actions "repeatedly fell short" of the conduct expected of him as a chief executive officer and chairman.
"We consider James Murdoch's conduct, including his failure to initiate action on his own account on a number of occasions, to be both difficult to comprehend and ill-judged. We consider that the events... raise questions regarding James Murdoch's competence in the handling of these matters, and his attitude towards the possibility of wrongdoing in the companies for which he was responsible," it said while clearing him of any deliberate wrongdoing.
Ofcom ruled that ``on the evidence currently available and having taken into account all the relevant factors, Sky is fit and proper to hold its broadcast licences".
The broadcaster welcomed the ruling and said it was ``committed to high standards of governance and we take our regulatory obligations extremely seriously".
Mr James Murdoch resigned as chairman of Sky in the wake of the hacking scandal amid allegations that he was involved in a cover-up of the extent of wrongdoing by his newspapers.
The scandal also led his company to abandon a move to acquire full control of Sky by buying up the remaining 61 per cent of its shares.
John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons Culture Media and Sport committee, which investigated phone hacking, said that Ofcom’s conclusions echoed those of his committee.
"We concluded that James Murdoch was guilty of failing to carry out his duties as properly as he might, but that we couldn't see evidence to prove that he had any knowledge or involvement in phone hacking and that is essentially what Ofcom have concluded as well,’’ he said. (ends)