Murdoch BSkyB scandal reaches Britain’s culture secretary
The long tentacles of Rupert Murdoch’sNews Corp. scandal have ensared many ofBritain’s top media figures. The unfolding controversy has now embroiledBritain’s culture secretary Jeremy Hunt in what is turning out to be a fight for his political life.
This week, Hunt was in damage control mode as he faces allegations about his connections to News Corp.‘s takeover bid for BSkyB, the British satellite broadcaster. Hunt -- whose department oversees the arts, media, cultural heritage, sports, the Olympics and more -- is accused of being partial to News Corp. and showing favoritism toward the company.
Hunt, who is a member of Britain’s Conservative party, faces calls for his resignation from opponents in Labour. Prime Minister David Cameron has given Hunt his support, but the culture secretary was dealt a blow Wednesday when his special adviser Adam Smith quit over the department’s perceived close ties to News Corp.
At the center of the Hunt scandal is a series of e-mails that allegedly prove that the department acted improperly during the BSkyB bid process, according to reports in the British press. The e-mails are said to show that Smith passed along vital information to News Corp.
Hunt addressed the House of Commons Wednesday, saying that he handled the bidding process with “scrupulous fairness.”
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