The parent company of Fox News announced on Tuesday that it will no longer air its programs in the United Kingdom via Sky News, a move that comes just as the British government weighs whether to allow a merger between 21st Century Fox and Sky News.
The company owned by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch said it made the decision because Fox News is geared toward U.S. markets and was not viewed by many people in the U.K.
“21CF has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK. Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement. “We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK.”
The British culture secretary is currently reviewing a report the country’s communications regulator, Ofcom, submitted last week. The culture secretary ordered a review from Ofcom after a lawsuit from a former Fox News contributor claimed that the network had worked with the White House and others to push a conspiracy theory about the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, prompting concern in the U.K. over the potential merger with Sky News. Ofcom was also looking at accusations of sexual harassment at the network.
Fox News and Rupert Murdoch have run afoul of British regulators in the past. Ofcom ruled in 2015 that the news channel broke U.K. laws with misleading interviews about so-called Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe. A British parliament committee in 2012 also issued a damning report about Murdoch’s News Corporation, arguing that Murdoch “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”