Media watchdogs should consider "very seriously" whether News Corporation remains a fit and proper organisation to run satellite TV company BSkyB, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said.
In an end-of-term press conference in Westminster, Mr Clegg said Ofcom should apply the test "on an ongoing basis" to ensure that companies remain fit to hold broadcasting licenses.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the phone-hacking scandal had uncovered "murky practices and dodgy relationships" at the heart of Britain's establishment, and said Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry provided a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity to clean up the media, politics and the police.
He offered his support to David Cameron, after it emerged that the Prime Minister discussed News Corp's bid to take over BSkyB in private meetings with executives including chairman Rupert Murdoch and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.
Mr Clegg said Mr Cameron's assurances in the House of Commons on Wednesday that the discussions on BSkyB were not "inappropriate" and that he did not act as a conduit between News Corp and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt "speak for themselves".
But he stressed that he did not attend the PM's meetings with News Corp executives and that he led the way in Government in calling for a judge-led inquiry into the hacking claims and for Mr Murdoch to drop the BSkyB bid, as he later did.
Ofcom had confirmed it had the power "to judge whether a media group is fit and proper or not" to hold a broadcasting licence, said Mr Clegg, adding: "I very much hope that they will show by their actions that they are taking that very seriously.
"There needs to be evidence quickly that the fitness and properness is applied on an ongoing basis to News International and other media organisations."
An Ofcom spokesman said: "We have already written to the Media and Sport Select Committee explaining our responsibilities in relation to 'fit and proper'.
"We are in the process of meeting with relevant authorities to explain our duty to be satisfied that persons holding broadcasting licences are fit and proper. Of course, we are very mindful of our duties in this area - and very conscious of the level of concern about these matters in Parliament and in the country more widely."