By Ray Fleming

YESTERDAY was the last day for submissions to be made to Britain's communications regulator Ofcom about Rupert Mudoch's plans for his News Corporation to buy the 61 per cent of BSkyB it does not yet own. Business minister Vince Cable has already asked Ofcom to advise him by the end of the year whether there are grounds for referring Murdoch's bid to the Competition Commission. The principal objection to the BSkyB deal comes from a group of four leading UK newspapers which argues that it will result in a consolidation of power across the press and TV in the UK that will act against the public interest and media plurality rules.

In a characteristic intervention this week James Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corporation in Europe and Asia, warned Mr Cable about delay in approving the take-over on the grounds that an 8bn pound investment could be put in jeopardy with the loss of jobs and the opportunity to create a digital TV business that is a world leader. In an equally characteristic, but very different, intervention this week the editor-in-chief of The Guardian Alan Rusbridger said that opposition to the BSkyB deal was not based on a judgement of Rupert Murdoch as a media owner but on the principle that no one should have as much power as the proposal would give -- “whether it is the BBC, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland or even Sir David Attenborough.”

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