Meaningful change in UK broadcast ownership rules

16 May 2002
In the statement which accompanied the publication of the draft bill, British culture secretary Tessa Jowell stated that “the need for change is clear”.

“Across the economy, deregulation brings benefits for consumers and for businesses. Unnecessary regulations need to removed wherever possible. By eliminating undue burdens on business we can drive innovation, increase investment, raise employment and bring better services to consumers” said Jowell.

The bill significantly relaxes media ownership regulations, scrapping restrictions on the ownership of more than one national TV or radio service, and abolishing all rules on foreign ownership.

“Our aim is to retain only the minimum level of media ownership regulation necessary to ensure that a wide range of voices will always be heard” said Jowell.

Jowell described the new regime as one which would “provide a clear set of rules that will give businesses the certainties they need to invest and expand”.

The bill notes however that the development of new technologies and services may change the way people use the media and lead to the ownership rules becoming outdated or in need of further reform. The regulator will therefore be required to review the rules every three years.

Following the publication of the draft bill, there will now be a three month review under an all party committee from both Houses of Parliament. The government has said it aims to have the bill on the statute books by the end of the year.

The review of South Africa’s broadcast ownership rules will take place later this year.



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