Vince Cable on Rupert Murdoch's bid for Sky TV. Whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova talks about the Russian doping scandal.
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Rupert Murdoch strikes to get his empire back as the media
mogul's 21st Century Fox bids for Sky.
This was the deal that crashed and burned five years
What will the regulator say now, and would this deal be good
This is perhaps Rupert Murdoch's last chance to reunify the firm he
founded and cement his legacy as the most powerful man
We'll talk to the man who, as Business Secretary,
The Russian Olympic team corrupted the London games
More than 1000 Russian athletes across more than 30 sports
have been implicated in an explosive report into doping today.
We interview Yulia Stepanova, the whistleblower whose revelations
led to the Russian athletics team being banned from Rio.
She tells Newsnight she is now hiding in fear for her life.
We'll be asking the President of the World Anti Doping Agency
And are other countries just as bad?
It looks like Rupert Murdoch might be about to get his empire back -
The owner of 21st Century Fox was thwarted in his efforts to get
Sky back when his now defunct newspaper News of the World became
embroiled in the Milly Dowler phone hacking scandal.
But he's been putting pieces of the jigsaw in place.
Murdoch's son, James, returned as chairman of Sky
in January this year, and he is also the chief executive
An ally of Rupert Murdoch's told me tonight that he always had
an emotional attachment to Sky and was pulling out
all the stops to get it back - he already owns a 39.1% stake -
But, despite the fact Sky's deputy chairman Martin Gilbert has
told me the price was good and one he feels should be put
to the shareholders, will the regulators be so sanguine
about Ruport Murdoch's - perhaps - last big play?
Rupert Murdoch has done some surprising things in his life
like aged 84 getting married to model Jerry Hall
One thing that surprised no one, though, is his renewed
For Rupert Murdoch this is unfinished business.
I mean, the modus operandi, you know, all of Murdoch's
companies, NewsCorp, 21st Century Fox, you name it,
has always been own and control or dispose.
Don't get caught half owning something, or owning something
significantly other people have control of.
February fifth, 1989, the door of television's new age.
Rupert Murdoch lost control of Sky in 1990 when lack of cash
forced him into a merger with British Satellite Broadcasting.
With BSkyB's share price down 30% on the year,
and the pound at 30 year lows against the US dollar
following the Brexit vote, Rupert Murdoch knows that the deal
that he's never given up on might never be cheaper.
Added to that, his calculation is the political climate that
sunk his last attempt has now changed decisively in his favour.
Mr Murdoch withdrew his last bid in 2011 when it crashed into a wave
of public revulsion over the phone hacking scandal,
and particularly the interception of voice mail messages
There were also concerns about diversity of media ownership,
Even if there is concern, I would assess those
as being slightly less of an issue now than they were.
But even when you go through the entire process,
first of all remember you have the BBC sitting
in the corner as the biggest game in town by far.
Secondly, you know, for a deal this size,
it isn't really very much skin off 21st Century Fox's nose to come up
with some way of guaranteeing Sky News's independence
if that is what they end up having to do.
The media landscape is very different from 2011 with streaming
services like Netflix and Amazon on the rise, nevertheless
Sky is still a huge player and a huge price.
Our North America Business correspondent, Michelle Fleury,
-- burst, will second time round the The Jambos to mark
if you look at what is happening to TV and film, the film industry has
changed massively. We see a wave of consolidation going on. The example,
after buying direct TV, AT is trying to buy Time Warner. If you
take Fox, with its huge European footprint, Fox would gain access to
a huge number of consumers. That would help it compete against the
likes of Netflix and Amazon. More and more of us are not watching TV
lies necessarily, but are streaming, this is the way to respond to that.
-- live. The other thing is price. Sky's share price is down 27% since
the start of the year. That means if you are looking at doing this deal,
well, it is getting cheaper than it has in the past. The other thing is
the fall in the pound. That is after Brexit. That is playing in Rupert
Murdoch's favour. 21st Century Fox makes its money in US dollars.
Vince Cable was Business Secretary at the time of the last
Lebas and Mark two has gone. Rebekah Brooks is back. -- the Leveson
Inquiry Mark two. This takeover is exactly the issue I faced six years
ago, which is the extent to which there is genuine plurality, choice
in the media. It is a highly concentrated business. There is an
issue of plurality now as there was then. At the time I referred the
matter to the competition authority. They concluded there was a problem.
They sought remedies and the thing fell through. I think the same
issues present themselves as now. Rupert Murdoch withdrew the bid
because of the controversy over the phone hacking scandal. Would a big,
powerful commercial media group in the UK be such a bad thing?
Potentially it could be a bad thing. In respect of news specifically.
Because this is where plurality matters. In order to get its
broadcasting licence Sky News would have to remain impartial. It is not
as if it is going to be influenced by Fox. Indeed, but that is not a
matter for me, you, or independent commentators, it is a matter for the
independent commission authorities and the regulator, Ofcom, to decide
whether the rules can be reversed, and whether there would be genuine
independence. Thanks very much. David Elstein is a former Head
of Programming at Sky and Chief Executive
of Portobello News. With this be a bad thing in terms of
plurality? I don't know why it would be an issue with plurality at all.
Sky would be owned by 20 -- would be owned by 21st Century Fox. To be
perfectly honest, there wasn't a media plurality issued last time.
That was completely bogus. I hope that... Well, that shouldn't be a
public interest intervention in this case. There is no basis for one, of
course. I hope Sky manage to avoid putting any rings around Sky News,
which might inhibit its long-term financial future. Rather than rings,
you heard Vince Cable say that there was a concern about impartiality of
news. But actually, last time round, Rupert Murdoch was going to set up,
as it were, a separate, not exactly a trust, but a separate organisation
to deal with Sky News. Is it possible he might do this this time
round? There is no need to do it this time around because there is no
issue. Sky News has been an exemplary observer of the
impartiality rules. It is governed by the impartiality rules. Let me
put that stricter Vince Cable. There you are, there hasn't been any
breach of impartiality. -- straight to. It has been a good independent
organisation. Because they are separate companies there is not an
issue. But there is the same controlling influence. Whatever he
says... The simple truth of the matter is when we referred it to an
independent commission authorities last time they judged that there was
a threat to media plurality. This was their independent judgment.
Regardless of what people in the industry say about it. But there is
no reason to suspect, or may be the media landscape has changed so much.
The Ofcom analysis was hopelessly wrong. It was the most embarrassing
document Ofcom has ever produced. There was no plurality issued. There
should never have been a prolonged negotiation like there was. There
should never have been a need for the undertakings that News Corp at
that time offered. But at that time, it was one company, now it is two.
So it just does not arise. What about the fit and proper persons
test? During the time of the phone hacking Ofcom questioned James
Murdoch's and actions. They said his actions fell short of how a chairman
should have acted. They took the test. They passed Sky as an
operation. They did the test, Sky past, and on we go. Phone hacking
was a terrible disaster. A disaster for its victims. A disaster for the
company. A disaster for the reputation of the press in the UK.
As far as we know it has gone. As far as we know there is no evidence
that James Murdoch knew about it, improved it, authorised it, or any
of that. Now that all of the lawsuits are out of the way, now
that the prosecutions have gone, the issue, as far as I can see, it
doesn't arise in this context. In a sense, Vince Cable, they have been
cleared. There have been issues of deleted e-mails recently brought up
in the courts, but by and large there is no stain. I think the
public would be more reassured if are the first Leveson Inquiry have
led to something. But it hasn't. Why should Rupert Murdoch suffer for
that? Part of it has never been investigated. The oversight of the
media is as bad, or as it was back in 2010. This is a separate issue
from plurality. But the plurality issue remains. And I think he don't
accept David Dale Steyn's wishing away of the Ofcom report as
incompetent. -- David Yates Elstein. -- David Elstein. I'm interested to
see where you think the problem arises with Fox getting a hold on
the European... They have the same controlling force behind them. They
are legally separate companies but with the same controlling influence.
The same overarching control, that's the problem, David. Absolutely. The
Murdochs have always run Sky. They have always operated their interest
separately. Let me reemphasise. The Ofcom report may have been
independent, but it was deeply, deeply flawed. Ofcom has never
attempted to respond to my critique. I am sure they hope that document
never sees the light of day again. It wasn't Ofcom's finest hour. It
was not Vince's finest hour. He had to leave his job as secretary of
state after he admitted that he launched the public interest
investigation as part of his war on the Murdochs. It is personal, is it?
I think I've been vindicated. I referred it to the competition
authorities. They are independent. Nothing to do with me. Not
political. And they judged, as I did, that there was an effect of
plurality and that remains. Thank you very much indeed.
"A dangerous slide towards political interference in sport."
Vladimir Putin's response to the McLaren report
which confirmed widespread state-sponsered cheating
among the country's top athletes across four years,
is surely evidence that we live in a looking glass world.
McLaren, the Canadian law professor who ran the investigation
for the World Anti-doping Agency found that Russian athletes
corrupted the 2012 Olympics on an unprecedented scale and says
that we will probably never know the true scale of the scandal.
Now the IOC is to retest all Russian samples from 2012.
Yulia Stepanova the Russian athlete, who first blew the whistle
on Russia's widespread doping, which led to the row over
Rio, is now in hiding, somewhere in America,
She has told the BBC she believes she will be killed
Yulia Stepanova, Russian champion, world-class athlete
Branded a traitor in her motherland, she and her husband helped
expose cheating in Russia on a colossal scale.
The revelations from this most controversial couple led
to a humiliating ban on Russia's entire track and field team
Outraged, President Vladimir Putin immediately responded,
saying his sports men and women were victims of double standards.
After revealing the dirty secrets behind Russian athletics,
the Stepanovs, with their young son, Robert, have spent the past
They are currently in the United States.
They are unlikely to return home any time soon.
Yulia Rusanova, her maiden name, was brought up on the edge
of an industrial estate in Kursk, south-west Russia.
With an alcoholic and violent father, she had
By 20, she began to excel as a middle-distance runner,
Her performance improved when her coach gave her
The band drug helped her cut a remarkable three seconds
Once she was on the national team, she was sent to a top sports
scientist and expert in performance enhancing drugs.
But at one race meeting, she came across a person
in the system who wasn't prepared to turn a blind eye.
Vitaly Stepanov was an idealistic young officer at Rusada,
A dirty athlete and a crusader for clean sport.
It was an unlikely combination, but two months later
Somehow, they stuck together, despite frequent rows
There is Rusanova, second in the Russian championships.
As I said, she had a fright before she did indeed
Yulia went from strength to strength, running
the World Championships in South Korea.
But some clean athletes were puzzled by her success.
She's young, she looks very talented, has good
I led the whole way in the semifinal and just at the very end I got
overtook by two girls, one being Yulia.
Of course, I was extremely shocked to see her in front of me.
After the event, she looked very guilty, is the only
word I could think of, and I thought that straightaway.
Eventually, Yulia got a two-year suspension
after irregularities were detected in her biological passport.
I had been writing to Wada since 2010, and it was a little
discouraging to see that they kind of preferred to somewhat stay away
Yulia's ten-page confession to the World Anti-Doping
So she began secretly taping her coaches,
officials and fellow athletes on her mobile phone.
In this recording, her doctor boasts about how his drugs have
After the recordings aired on German TV, the Stepanovs left Russia.
Now living in the US, they have received little support.
The classic sport structure and system doesn't necessarily want
whistle-blowers coming forward because it brings bad
And that's contrary to the brand, and it ultimately hurts the brand.
And so I'm not sure that that's exactly what sport really wanted.
Yulia's whistle-blowing got a cold reception in Russia.
The press attacked her as a rat and a traitor.
Online, some even called for her execution.
Russian history is full of stories of betrayal.
There is a famous one about a schoolboy who informed
on his own father to Stalin's police.
Some are calling Yulia a modern day version,
for selling out her fellow athletes and her country.
She's not a hero because there's nothing brave in it.
The main motive for her, as for any other athlete
who is and was doping, is a financial motive.
In this very laboratory, hundreds of positive samples
The Moscow lab lost its accreditation in April and has been
After a round of sackings at the Russian anti-doping agency,
Those who worked for Rusada in previous years, we don't
have these old people in our company any more.
Wouldn't sorry be a good thing to say?
Actually, I think we should be sorry that everything happened
and that there were hints that people could say that
Yulia hopes to compete at the World Championships
in London next summer, perhaps under a neutral flag.
But given the further allegation in Richard McLaren's report,
will her fellow Russian athletes be there, too?
And if not, does she feel responsible?
Some call Yulia Stepanova the greatest whistle-blower
Whatever the case, the fallout from her revelations will be felt
in Russia and worldwide for some time to come.
Lucy Ash reporting, as part of the BBC'S 100 Women series.
You can see a full length documentary on Yulia Stepanova
and her revelations on 24th and 25th December on BBC World.
We're now joined from Glasgow by the President of Wada,
Good evening. Her story is shocking and you need whistle-blowers like
that but there is a woman who thinks if she goes back to Russia she will
be killed. You heard the contributor from America saying, we do not want
whistle-blowers in one way in sport, so how will you help people like
her? Well, I know of this couple, I have had video conferences with her
husband. He has helped with the establishment of what will become
the Wada whistle-blowing policy. And she has been as warmly welcomed by
the athletic community as anybody could be. The reception of what she
did in Russia, I agree has been pretty terrible. As far as moving
forward with whistle-blowers, on the 1st of January next year we put in
place a brand-new whistle-blowing policy. People will be able to get
at us from our website, and it will be run by our head of
investigations, who was the professional investigator on the
first of the commissions of enquiry, the one which actually found about
all the trouble in Russian athletics, the one that Yulia
Stepanova, I suppose, was responsible for. On that question,
according to achieve sports reporter at the Sunday Times, when she made
those allegations in that German documentary, your organisation
ignored her and hoped she would go away and her allegations would not
get traction. Well, I took on this job in 2014 so I have had to go back
and look at records. I don't think that was the case. It takes quite a
long time to deliver the evidence that anybody needs before you start
an investigation. She has said herself that it was not until 2013
that she began to collect the evidence that anybody would have
required. The other problem we had is that as an organisation we did
not have the legal powers to establish that type of investigation
until the 1st of January 2000 and 15. But that was the date when our
first commission went into work, based very much on her work. So much
doping, from London 2012, right through to Sochi. But in the London
2012 Olympics, Russia got 24 gold, 32 silver, 32 bronze. They were
doping on an industrial scale and were not once detected, even though
you had observers there. If you look at the McLaren report, you will see
a very detailed description of the system put in place to ensure that
exactly that happened. It was doping on an industrial scale and it was
coordinated through the Moscow laboratory and the Deputy Minister
for sport. We knew, when the IOC began to retest the London samples
and were beginning to find evidence of doping, because the technology
was better, that there would be bad news to come. I don't think in any
way we believed it would be as bad as it has turned out to be. Well, in
Rio there were actually doping incidences from something like 52
countries. So we know Russia is not the only culprit. Two questions.
First, how will you get Russia back into the world scene when it is in
such a state? Secondly, what about the other countries? As far as
bringing Russia back into the world scene, that is now, I have to say,
something of a priority. It is going to be very difficult for sport to
have the biggest country in the world noncompliant on a prolonged
basis. It involves a number of things that have to happen in
Russia. The first would be to accept the validity of the reports that
have been produced by Professor McLaren. Secondly, they have to
understand that a proper, well-organised anti-doping
organisation has to be independent, as independent as it can be in any
country. That involves independent people, not just Russian
sportspeople. Vladimir Putin said today this was political
interference in sport on a grand scale. He does not sound ready to
take recommendations. Well, he has taken a number of the last few
months. I understand that the President has said, we have a
problem and we need to fix it. I am encouraged by that. This will not be
an easy process because in someways we are trying to change the culture.
That is just the technical bit. The problem thereafter is to do it in
such a way that the rest of the world believes it and knows they are
behaving appropriately. Next year we have the World Athletics
Championships in London. Can you say they will be clean? Nobody would say
that anything would be guaranteed to be clean, on the evidence of the
amount of doping that goes on. The IAAF are working closely with us,
but it will be very difficult for us to deal with the Russian anti-doping
agency in one way and for track and field athletics to do it in a
different way, so there is a common interest. But every effort will be
made. I think it is a fair point to say that since modern and better
technology has produced a lot of really terrible evidence now,
anybody who believes that will not improve by London 2017 is probably
not thinking straight. Thank you. Just before we go, we wanted to wish
many happy returns to the man who was born Issur Danielovitch
on this day in 1916. He's the last leading man standing
from Hollywood's Golden Age, patriarch of an acting dynasty
and star of films like Paths of Glory, Out of the Past,
the Vikings, and, of course, despite many claims
to the contrary, he was Spartacus. So - Kirk Douglas -
happy hundredth birthday. # I've got a wail of a tale to tell
you, lads # A wail of a tale, and it's all
true, I swear # There was mermaid mini
# I met her in Madagascar. # I hate surprises, myself.
# Blow me down and picked me up, she swapped me for a trout. I'm
Spartacus. I'm Spartacus. I'm Spartacus. I'm Spartacus. Good
evening. The weekend will start with a north- south divide