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Democrat candidate speaks out against Murdoch's WSJ deal

NEW YORK - Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of The Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones has encountered opposition from Democratic Presidential hopeful John Edwards.

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Edwards has called on Democrats to oppose this week's $5.6bn (£2.8bn) deal between News Corporation and Dow Jones and has also challenged fellow Democratic Presidential hopefuls, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, to refuse campaign contributions from News Corp executives.

"It's time for all Democrats, including those running for President, to stand up and speak out against this merger and other forms of media consolidation," he said.

He gave the record of News Corp's US TV channel Fox News as another reason to oppose the Wall Street Journal joining Murdoch's stable.

"Given Fox News' consistent efforts to demean Democrats -- they have attacked the character of Senator Obama, Vice-President Gore and many others -- no Democrat running for President should accept campaign money from top News Corp executives," he said.

Murdoch's $60-a-share offer was finally accepted by a majority of votes held by the Bancroft family, which controls 64% of Dow Jones voting stock, on Tuesday.

The acquisition is subject to approval by remaining Dow Jones shareholders, who are virtually certain to accept, and the US media regulator, the Federal Communications Commission. It is understood that the FCC is unlikely to have an objection to the deal on competition grounds.

However, one FCC commissioner, Michael J Copps, said in a statement on Wednesday that the commission would conduct a "careful analysis" of the transaction.

"This deal means more media consolidation and fewer independent voices, and it specifically impacts the local market in New York City," he said.

News Corp owns The New York Post newspaper and the local Fox affiliate TV station.

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