Hunt denies bias in BSkyB bid

May 31, 2012 at 11:25 AM
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LONDON, May 31 (UPI) -- British Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt says he was sympathetic to Rupert Murdoch's effort to purchase the British Sky Broadcasting Network.

However, Hunt denied acting with bias in the $12 billion deal, which collapsed under pressure from the phone hacking scandal at two of Rupert Murdoch's tabloid newspapers, The New York Times reported.

Hunt, who was in charge of overseeing the regulatory process and had the authority to approve the deal, was questioned Thursday at a British media inquiry headed by Lord Justice Brian Leveson over his communication with Murdoch and other executives.

Hunt said he was sympathetic to the BSkyB bid, but said he had set aside his own bias.

"As I understand it," he said, "the point of a quasijudicial role is not that you approach it with a brain wiped clean, but you set aside any views you have and decide objectively."

The Times said Hunt's testimony is being watched for the possibility of any links to Prime Minister David Cameron, who is expected to testify before the panel this summer. Cameron has been criticized by opponents for putting Hunt in the role as culture minister when he knew Hunt supported the Murdoch bid.

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