Elisabeth Murdoch, Shine Group boss and daughter of Newscorp owner Rupert Murdoch, used her MacTaggart lecture at this year’s Media Guardian Edinburgh TV Festival to distance herself from her brother’s previous MacTaggart speech and to set out her belief that businesses shouldn’t simply aim for profit without any underlying ethical basis.
She also put it on the record that she is a supporter of the BBC licence fee.
Murdoch began her speech detailing her career so far but soon moved on to the scandal that has enveloped her father’s company over the past year commenting that writing the lecture had been "a welcome distraction from some of the other nightmares much closer to home".‚Ä®
She took aim at her brother James’ previous MacTaggart lecture in 2009 in which he stated that profit was the “only guarantor of independence.” Lis Murdoch said that he had "left something out" and that corporations had to have a stronger sense of ethics and values at the heart of what they do.
She said she rejected the idea that "money is the only effective measure of all things or that the free market is the only sorting mechanism." She said that "profit without purpose is a recipe for disaster" and that companies including Newscorp had to "discuss, affirm and institutionalise a rigorous set of values based on an explicit statement of purpose.”
In further contrast to her brother’s previous MacTaggart lecture, she stood up for the BBC’s funding system. "Let me put it on the record that I am a current supporter of the BBC's universal licence fee," she said. Although she added that new BBC director general, George Entwistle’s biggest challenge was “to demonstrate how efficiently that funding is being spent on actual content".
In her post MacTaggart lecture on Friday morning she also said that as a “British producer you’d be hard pressed” not to appreciate “the creative contribution the BBC makes.”
She also said in her post MacTaggart interview that Sky should use the same terms of trade that the PSB channels use when dealing with independent producers. “I would love that to happen. I would wholeheartedly welcome that.”