STOP BskyB TAKEOVER!

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The National Union of Journalists staged a protest against the takeover of BSkyB in March this year
The National Union of Journalists staged a protest against the takeover of BSkyB in March this year

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been forced to delay any decision on the BSkyB takeover by News International until September, it emerged yesterday.

This was after more than 130,000 people had signed a petition urging Hunt to block Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of BSkyB.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet had earlier stated: ‘The NUJ is demanding the government halt any decision on the future of BSkyB until a public inquiry into the conduct of Murdoch’s key lieutenants at the News of the World.’

Hunt’s move came in the wake of a furious response to the news that the phones of the relatives of servicemen killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the families of victims of the 7/7 terrorist bombings in London, were hacked into by the paper.

Yesterday marked the sixth anniversary of the July 7th bombings.

News International’s paper The Times was predicting the arrest of five journalists and newspaper executives ‘within days’.

It also emerged yesterday that, belatedly, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is to probe allegations of police payments by the News of the World.

IPCC Commissioner Deborah Glass said: ‘The IPCC has today received a referral from the Metropolitan Police Service in relation to an allegation, which was widely reported yesterday, that a number of officers received payments from the News of the World.’

This came after the Met said that News International documents indicating Scotland Yard officers received payments from the News of the World have been formally referred to the IPCC.

The NUJ’s Stanistreet said: ‘The latest sickening revelations happened under the hands-on leadership of key senior figures in Rupert Murdoch’s News International.

‘It is simply unbelievable that they were unaware of the existence and the scale of this abuse. Rebekah Brooks may claim it is “inconceivable” that she was aware of the depths her paper was prepared to plummet to – it is frankly inconceivable that she was not aware of the systemic reliance on hacking as a source of information for the stories in the paper she edited.’

The NUJ is also backing calls for the abolition of the Press Complaints Commission in the wake of its failure to tackle the News of the World phone-hacking cases.