Thursday, August 08, 2013

Fireman calls for Bauer stations to be taken off their hands

Bruce Fireman - described for these purposes as "media banker and analyst" - has demanded that Bauer be refused permission to take over Absolute and that, for good measure, it be made to give up Radio City, Piccadilly and all the rest.

The reason?

Nazis, of course.

It turns out one part of the Bauer empire publishes a magazine Der Landser, which has a rather rosy view of the Second World War and the SS in particular.

Fireman thinks this sort of thing should be used to draw attention to himself ("should bar Bauer from holding broadcast licences"):

"Bauer Parent's response to complaints made about its publication of Der Landser is that the magazine does not glorify National Socialism, nor does it downplay Nazi crimes.

It says it is lawful to publish Der Landser in Germany. That may be. That does not mean that a decently-conducted company would publish such a magazine which glorifies criminals but avoids prosecution by not mentioning the word 'Nazi' and not promoting anti-Semitism.

It is obviously unacceptable deliberately to evade the application of German law by not telling the whole truth about, and never condemning, the 'heroes' Der Landser glorifies."

Fireman reminds Ofcom that it "must be satisfied that the holder of a broadcast licence is fit and proper to do so and must consider not just the conduct of a licensee but also those who manage and control it."
Ofcom has always been a bit reluctant to use the "fit and proper person" test with any degree of seriousness - you'll have noted that James Murdoch's inability to spot what was going on under his nose didn't disqualify him - so it's unlikely that Bauer are going to have to exit the UK radio industry over a small-circulation magazine, however odious.