The Communications Committee hears from Culture Secretary Karen Bradley MP on a range of issues, which have recently been considered by the Committee. This follows, and supplements, the last of a short series of evidence sessions on press regulation, in which the Committee questions IMPRESS, a regulatory body.
Tuesday 13 December, Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster
- Walter Merricks CBE, Chair, IMPRESS
- Jonathan Heawood, Chief Executive Officer, IMPRESS
- Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Culture, Media and Sport
In 2015 the Communications Committee launched an inquiry to establish where things stood with regard to press regulation in the wake of the Leveson report, which recommended significant reforms, and resulted in the creation of the Royal Charter, the Press Recognition Panel, and self-regulatory bodies IMPRESS and IPSO. IMPRESS was recognised by the Press Recognition Panel in October in spite of the condemnation of some representatives of the press.
Earlier this year, the Committee published a report on the BBC Charter Review. The Committee concluded that there was no need to change the BBC's core mission – to 'inform, educate and entertain'. The latest BBC Charter, however, adds that the BBC should also be 'distinctive' in its output. The Government has also proposed that the BBC should be regulated by Ofcom, a change which is currently being taken forward by the Digital Economy Bill currently progressing through the House.
Most recently, the Committee conducted an inquiry into the financial sustainability of Channel 4 Corporation as well as the implications of privatisation, in light of the Government's review of the broadcaster's future. In its report, the Committee urged the Government not to pursue any plans to sell the channel, saying that the risks of privatisation outweigh the benefits. So far the Government has yet to provide a substantive response to this report.
Areas of discussion
Questions that IMPRESS witnesses are likely to face are:
- How do you answer critics who say that you are not independent?
- Does the existence of IMPRESS provide for a more robust system of regulation than the current self-regulatory system?
Questions that the Secretary of State is likely to face will cover:
- Progress towards press regulation following the Leveson inquiry
- The future of Channel 4
- Ofcom’s new role in regulating the BBC
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