Murdoch’s Fox seeks to win bid approval by extending Sky News guarantee

The takeover is being closely watched in the US where Murdoch has agreed to sell a string of assets to the Walt Disney company, including Sky, for $52.4 billion. (Reuters)
Updated 20 February 2018
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Murdoch’s Fox seeks to win bid approval by extending Sky News guarantee

LONDON: Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox has strengthened its offer to protect the independence of Sky’s loss-making news channel to try to overcome regulatory concerns about Fox’s takeover of the parent company.
Britain’s competition regulator has said Fox’s $15.7 billion deal to buy the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own should be blocked unless a way is found to reduce the influence Murdoch could wield through the ownership of Sky News.
The objections marked the latest twist in Murdoch’s eight-year battle to take control of Europe’s leading pay-TV company, forcing Fox to come back with more and more concessions to try to allay concerns about the deal and win regulatory approval.
The takeover is being closely watched in the US where Murdoch has agreed to sell a string of assets to the Walt Disney company, including Sky, for $52.4 billion.
Last week, Fox pledged to maintain and fund a fully independent Sky-branded news service for five years, and on Tuesday it upped this offer to run for 10 years.
It had already proposed to establish a fully independent board to oversee the 24-hour news network, including the appointment of its head, who will have sole responsibility for editorial strategy and staffing.
It said on Tuesday the Sky News board would now be required to prepare an annual statement confirming it had not come under any influence or attempted influence in the way it creates its editorial output.
“21CF (Fox) is willing to offer the revised undertakings” to address the objections raised by the regulator, Fox’s lawyers Allen & Overy said in a letter to the Competition and Markets Authority.


Vietnam jails activist for anti-government posts on Facebook

Updated 25 September 2018
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Vietnam jails activist for anti-government posts on Facebook

  • The conviction comes as communist authorities step up a crackdown on dissent
  • Some 97 activists were in jail as of April this year, according to Amnesty International

HANOI, Vietnam: A court in southern Vietnam has sentenced an activist to 27 months in prison for Facebook posts that judges say insulted the ruling Communist Party and government and called for anti-government protests.
Doan Khanh Vinh Quang, 42, was convicted “abuse of democratic freedom to infringe on the legitimate interests of the state” by the People’s Court in Ninh Kieu District in Can Tho province after a one-day trial Monday, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
The agency quoted judges as saying Quang’s actions “actively abetted hostile and reactionary forces from inside and outside the country” who want to overthrow the party and government.
Court officials were not available for comment Tuesday.
The conviction comes as communist authorities step up a crackdown on dissent. Quang was third activist to be jailed in a week on similar charges.
On Saturday, Nguyen Hong Nguyen and Truong Dinh Khang, were convicted of insulting the Communist Party and its leaders, including late founding President Ho Chi Minh, and sentenced to two years and one year respectively in separate cases in Can Tho province.
Despite sweeping economic reforms over the past 30 years that opened Vietnam to foreign investment and trade that made it one of fastest growing economies in the region, the Communist Party tolerates no challenge to its one-party rule.
Some Western governments and international human rights groups criticize Vietnam for jailing people for peacefully expressing their views. Hanoi says only lawbreakers are put behind bars.
Some 97 activists were in jail as of April this year, according to Amnesty International.