Ofcom urged to block Bauer radio deal

Media watchdog Ofcom has been urged to stop a publishing group acquiring broadcast rights for a UK radio station due to its distribution of magazines which glorify the Nazis.

Bruce Fireman, a media banker and lawyer, said Bauer Media Group was not "fit and proper" to run stations under the Absolute Radio umbrella.

The JC reported the concern of Holocaust groups and antisemitism watchdogs last week over Bauer's continued defence of Der Landser, a German magazine that honours the SS, which is published by a company owned by Bauer.

BMG is now one of the largest media companies in Britain. Its stable ranges from Heat magazine to Kiss and Magic radio. It recently completed a deal worth around 22 million for Absolute Radio.

Mr Fireman has written to Ofcom asking it to conduct a fit-and-proper persons test in an attempt tostop Bauer taking over the Absolute stations, and to revoke the licences it currently holds.

He wrote: "Another subsidiary of Bauer publishes a magazine called Der Landser. This prints stories, said to be based on authentic experiences, about the Wehrmacht during the Second World War.

"Page two of each issue also carries (apparently true) stories of individual German soldiers or officers, who were honoured for bravery during the war."

"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 antisemitism."

Mr Fireman concluded: "Such a company should not to be trusted with a licence which requires integrity and compliance with law and regulation."

Ofcom has not yet responded.

A spokesperson for BMG said: "Bauer Media also voluntarily submits the issues of the magazine to examination from a press law perspective. The company attaches great importance to ensuring that the magazine neither trivialises nor glorifies Nazi crimes."

Last updated: 1:41pm, August 9 2013