Establishment of independent Sky News Editorial Board and confirmation of long-term commitments to Sky News

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Sky is pleased to announce that it has today entered into legally binding commitments with Comcast Corporation that guarantee the continued operation and long term funding of an editorially independent Sky News.

These commitments extend the Post Offer Undertakings given by Sky and Comcast in May 2018 in which they committed to maintaining inflation-adjusted funding in Sky News, to maintain Sky’s HQ in Osterley and not to acquire a UK newspaper, for a period of 5 years, as well as to establish the Sky News Board within 3 months of 9 October 2018.

By today’s commitments, given by way of Deed Poll, Sky and Comcast have extended their commitment to maintaining Sky News funding to 10 years. They have also established the Sky News Board, with oversight of the continued editorial independence of Sky News, Sky News’ compliance with the Sky News Editorial Guidelines, and the long term funding commitment. The members of the Sky News Board are:

  • Nigel Baker, Chairman. Nigel is CEO of Thomson Foundation, formerly vice president of business operations for the Associated Press, a journalist with more than 40 years’ experience including senior roles at ITN and Reuters in the 1980s/90s.
  • Sue Inglish, chairs the Disasters Emergency Committee and is a former head of BBC political programmes and former deputy editor of Channel Four News.
  • Chris Banatvala is an independent media consultant specialising in regulation and policy. He was formerly OFCOM’s founding Director of Standards and a Channel Four News journalist in the 1990s.
  • Mark Astaire is Chairman of Corporate Broking of Barclays PLC (a position he has held since October 2015) and Vice Chairman of Banking for Europe, the Middle East & Africa. He also serves as a trustee of the charity Breast Cancer Care. Mr Astaire was a former ITV journalist in the 1980s.

Each member satisfies the independence criteria set out in the Deed Poll, having UK media experience and independence from Comcast.

Sky and Comcast undertake to maintain and observe the Sky News Editorial Guidelines and have made a number of enhancements to them to further preserve the editorial independence of Sky News:

  • the Head of Sky News is to retain complete editorial control over all news output, and instructions to editorial staff are to come only from the Head of Sky News and his authorised delegates;
  • any attempts to influence the selection or running of news stories or the political comment and opinion to be broadcast on Sky News, are to be escalated by the Head of Sky News, to the Sky News Board.

Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO of Sky, said:

“We have invested in Sky News since it launched nearly thirty years ago and we are delighted that Comcast has joined us in extending its commitments, which will secure the future of Sky News for the next ten years.”

John Ryley, Head of Sky News, said:

“Sky’s belief in Sky News has enabled us to build an outstanding record of world class reporting. This long-term funding commitment ensures that we can continue to invest in quality journalism and strengthen our position as an independent, trusted news source.”

For further information, please contact:

Gavin Davis