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Still Too Powerful

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Worried about careless thinking in all the euphoria yesterday at the shuddering on his plinth of Rupert Murdoch, the undersung Labour MP Graham Allen underlined the problem of volume of ownership, calling for ‘a proper legal framework, as well as clarity about how many news and media outlets that one person, or one organisation, can own. Until you resolve those questions in six months time we could be back in exactly the same position.’ Murdoch already owns too many newspapers and too much of BSkyB. A law forbidding anyone, directly or through nominees, to hold more than a fixed, low percentage of any or all media would build a barrier against invincibility. Belief in Murdoch’s invincibility produced Blair’s speech of flatbelly abjection before News Corp employees at Hayman Island in 1995. It brought Gordon Brown to Murdoch parties and made Jeremy Hunt ‘mindful to let the deal go through’. He is mindful now of so many things. With communications power rationed, Murdoch and the alternative beasts would be mindful altogether.

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