LORDS

Lords to debate media convergence report

30 October 2013

The House of Lords will today debate a report by the Select Committee on Communications on "Media Convergence", published in March this year.

In the report, the Committee discussed the ways in which the lines between traditionally distinct media sectors have blurred, and suggested that recent discussions around media regulation have tended to miss this bigger picture.

Taking this into account, the Committee pointed towards a model on which the regulatory framework across the media as a whole could be reconfigured, including several notable features: no longer would broadcasters (other than the PSBs) be required to uphold an obligation to due impartiality; in place of the watershed, a standard system of age-based classification would be adopted for TV and TV-like services, and Ofcom would be given a new pro-active role with regard to content available to UK citizens over the open internet.

While the impact of this reconfiguration may be striking at first blush, the Committee argued that it will be important in the medium term to ensure that the regulatory architecture for the media as a whole does not become mismatched with the technological and commercial landscape which it oversees; and that the Government does not now ignore its role in what is an important matter for genuine and legitimate debate.

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