How practical it would be to set limits on media ownership, asks Jeremy Hunt
Communications watchdog Ofcom is inviting comments on measuring media plurality.
The announcement follows a request to consider this area by the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt. The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, has written to Ofcom and asked it to assess how practical it would be to set limits on media ownership to protect plurality. He also asked Ofcom to recommend a framework for measuring plurality across different media, said Ofcom.
Ofcom said that at the end of last year, in its report on the public interest test on the proposed acquisition of British Sky Broadcasting Group by News Corporation, Ofcom had suggested that possible reform of the current framework around plurality may be required.
"Parliament has seen it as important to safeguard plurality because of an organisation’s ability to influence opinions and set the political agenda if it has too much control of the media. Our findings will be provided to the Secretary of State and given as evidence to the Leveson Inquiry by June 2012," said Ofcom.
It added that currently, there is a range of rules in place to safeguard plurality, including the media public interest test. Other rules include restrictions on national cross-media ownership, said Ofcom.
We are inviting comments on the questions we have been asked by the Secretary of State, including: setting absolute limits on news market share; and whether or how it should include the BBC?
Ofcom is soliciting written submissions by 18 November 2011.