15 July 2011


It's all marvellous television – or would be if the BBC's journalists weren't on strike – but the implosion of News Corporation's damage-limitation exercise in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal doesn't really make a lot of difference to anything apart from News Corp's share price.

The resignation of Rebekah Brooks, following sharply on the closure of the News of the World and the formal abandonment of News Corp's bid for full ownership of BSkyB, is certainly newsworthy. How significant it is remains a moot point. Call me a cynic, but I'd put money on the following. News Corp does a lot of grovelling this week, launches a Sunday Sun in early September and puts together a "revised" bid for BSkyB around the same time. By Xmas we're back to business as usual, maybe with a superficially beefed-up Press Complaints Commission.

The only things that would really change the game would be a statutory press standards regime (unlikely, and also a bad idea) or legislation to ban any company or individual from owning more than a 10 per cent share – say – of outlets in the newspaper or subscription TV markets. But something tells me that serious constraints on media ownership are the last thing on David Cameron's mind.

As for Rebekah, I'm sure she has a future in reality TV.

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