by Ray Fleming

The annual MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival provides one of the world's most sought-after platforms for leading figures to give their views on developments in the meda. Elizabeth Murdoch will be this week's lecturer on Friday; her acceptance of the invitation suggests she may have something important to say. She is involved in independent TV production on both sides of the Atlantic but it is well known that her relations with father Rupert and brother James have not been close since the phone-hacking debacle. Understandably, there is therefore considerable interest over whether she will reflect on the events of the last year.

Rupert Murdoch gave the MacTaggart Lecture in 1989 and used it to press for Sky News to be freed from its licence requirement to treat the news impartially, saying that “TV is a business”. Three years ago in Edinburgh James Murdoch returned to that theme, saying “The only reliable, durable and perpetual guarantee of media independence is profit.” I pounced on that remark in this space at the time and subsequently, as have other commentators, for its naked revelation of the Murdoch news philosophy. In the aftermath of the phone-hacking scandal both Rupert and James have lost some power in the US parent company and it is interesting to speculate whether Elizabeth Murdoch and her brother Lachlan will play a bigger role in future.

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