UK's Hunt sees News Corp deal protecting plurality

LONDON Thu Mar 3, 2011 12:32pm EST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday that a plan to spin off Sky News would prevent Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (NWSA.O) from getting too tight a grip on media if a buyout of BSkyB goes ahead.

"This is a move that will actually protect plurality of news provision in the UK, something that is incredibly important. It will strengthen the independence of Sky News," Hunt said in comments broadcast by the BBC and Sky News.

The government has given a green light to the deal after a proposal from News Corp to spin off Sky News.

Rival media groups argue that the deal is a whitewash and will give Murdoch too great a hold on news provision, given he owns four British newspapers.

(Editing by Stefano Ambrogi)

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