At the end of last year, in Ofcom‘s report on the public interest test
on the proposed acquisition of British Sky Broadcasting Group by News
Corporation, the Regulator suggested that possible reform of the
current framework around plurality may be required.
Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and
Sport, has written to Ofcom and asked the Regulator to assess how
practical it would be to set limits on media ownership to protect
plurality. The Secretary of State also asked Ofcom to recommend a
framework for measuring plurality across different media.
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. Ofcom‘s findings will
be provided to the Secretary of State and given as evidence to the
Leveson Inquiry by June 2012.
Current plurality rules:
Currently, there is a range of rules in place to safeguard plurality.
These include the media public interest test, which can be triggered
on the grounds of plurality when there is a merger between media
enterprises. Other rules include restrictions on national cross-media
Questions for comment:
- What are the options for measuring media plurality across platforms?
- What do you recommend is the best approach?
- Is it practical or advisable to set absolute limits on news market share?
- What could trigger a review of plurality in the absence of a merger, how might this be monitored and by whom?
- Could or should a framework for measuring levels of plurality include websites and if so which ones?
- Whether or how it should include the BBC?
The invitation to comment may be found here: