James Murdoch used an Ofcom-hosted conference yesterday to take aim at both the BBC and the UK's media regulation regime. Murdoch accused the corporation of "megalomania" in setting itself up as a "British Google", and said regulatory controls were resulting in a "corrosion of enterprise".
Murdoch said it was "not a coincidence that the BBC has managed so far to escape any meaningful oversight by concocting, as governance, fudge that Thornton's would be proud of". "Delusions of grandeur will flourish in the absence of proper accountability," said Murdoch.
"The triumph of the free market surely indicates that broadcasting should be more like other industries. In recent years, the direction has been absolutely clear: the private sector does more and the state does less.
"Not in the case of broadcasting, at least in the UK. Indeed, the UK's main state broadcasting agency, the BBC, famously fantasises about creating a 'British Google'—and wants the taxpayer to fund it. This is not public service; it's megalomania."
Murdoch said calls to maintain regulation and intervention were generally prompted by institutional or commercial self-interest "usually disguised as concern for 'standards'". That was why Channel 4 wanted to be able to spend more "of our money under the guise of public service competition to the BBC" and why "the BBC favours digital terrestrial television even though it is an inferior technology".
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