38 Degrees members deliver petition to Jeremy Hunt

38 Degrees members from Jeremy Hunt’s constituency in Surrey got together to talk about Murdoch’s proposals to buy out 100% of BSkyB.

38 Degrees members at the meet-up in Haslemere

Photograph by 38 Degrees

One member, David Morgan, had arranged a meeting with his MP, Jeremy Hunt. He wanted to ask why other local members were concerned about Murdoch’s plans and to show Jeremy Hunt that other constituents shared his concerns. David also gave Jeremy Hunt our petition which has now been signed by nearly 40,000 of us.

David said “it was important to me to make sure that Mr Hunt understood my concerns about the importance of plurality of quality media in this country. I took the opportunity to let him know about the general perception that many people have that the current government somehow ‘owes’ Mr Murdoch a favour.”

In the meeting with Jeremy Hunt, David explained that he and many others had concerns about the Murdoch takeover proposals. David and Finn, another local member who joined the meeting, said that Jeremy Hunt “bristled” at the suggestion he may not be completely impartial and assured them that he would be entirely unbiased.

38 Degrees members at the petition delivery in Haslemere

Photograph by 38 Degrees

We got together in a cafe opposite Tesco in Haslemere where Jeremy Hunt was holding his surgery. Over a cup of tea, we chatted about why we were concerned about Murdoch’s powergrab. People’s main worries included Jeremy Hunt’s lack of impartiality, the process itself (especially Jeremy Hunt letting Murdoch have extra time to make changes to his bid) and threats to a free and democratic media in the UK (especially if he starts ‘bundling up’ Sky TV with subscriptions to his newspapers, for example).

Other members also shared their reasons for getting together. Celia said it had been a “very valuable experience to meet with other 38 Degrees members to discuss issues and confirmation of direct and personal strength of feeling”. Ian said, “pleased to meet up with other members and to help get the message across – emphasising concerns regarding future of journalistic freedom and access to information by public and how this might be reduced if Murdoch is allowed to take control of BSkyB.”