FIT AND PROPER TEST

Q.COULD OFCOM STOP NEWS CORP’S BID FOR BSKYB?
A.No. But it could intervene once News Corp has bought the satellite company and withdraw its broadcasting licence on the grounds that it is not a “fit and proper” owner of television channels.

Q.IS OFCOM LIKELY TO SAY NEWS CORP DOESN’T PASS THE TEST?
A.It doesn’t have any live concerns about the suitability of News Corp, which already owns 39 per cent of BSkyB. However this is a fast moving situation and Ofcom could yet change its position.

Q.HAS ANYONE FAILED A FIT AND PROPER TEST BEFORE?
A.Yes. Ofcom recently withdrew a broadcasting licence because it was being used to transmit pornographic material at an inappropriate time of day. And one of Ofcom’s predecessors, the Radio Authority, withdrew four local radio licences from millionaire Owen Oyston, after he was jailed for rape in 1998. However, Ofcom would be treading new ground if it withdrew a company’s licence because one of its subsidiaries had engaged in criminal activity.