BSkyB takeover would boost diversity, says Hunt

Jeremy Hunt defended his decision to approve News Corporation's takeover of BSkyB, claiming the deal would boost the diversity of British media.

The Culture Secretary told the Commons culture select committee he was confident the plan, which includes splitting off Sky News, would increase plurality as it "strengthens the independence of Sky News over and above where it is now". A coalition of rivals disagree, saying it would be "fanciful" to expect Sky News to be truly independent.

Mr Hunt confirmed he met James Murdoch, non-executive chairman of BSkyB, twice in the run-up to approving the moves and said he would not publish further details of the meetings until the deal was finished. "The minutes will be published as soon as the merger process is complete," he said.

Mr Hunt did admit that the existing check on media plurality "may not be as robust as it should be". He said that News Corp's plan to fund Sky News for 10 years as part of the deal would guarantee the channel's security.