On Tuesday 16 July, the House of Lords Communications Committee will hear contrasting views on the effectiveness of the existing media plurality framework from BSkyB and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Since the current framework for media plurality was established, there have been media public interest interventions in only two cases: Sky/ITV and News Corporation/Sky.
At 3.30pm, the Committee will be speaking to David Wheeldon, Director of Policy and Public Affairs and Adam Kinsley, Director of Policy at BSkyB. It will seek to understand the lessons which BSkyB have taken from their direct experiences of the plurality rules in action. In particular, they will put questions to them on their view that the current arrangements already provide “the appropriate framework to ensure media plurality.”
Following on, at 4.30pm, the Committee will then get to grips with the NUJ’s highly contrasting view on those arrangements by speaking to Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary and Professor Chris Frost, Chair of the Ethics Council at the NUJ. In particular, the Committee will interrogate the various proposals for reform which the NUJ have put forward, from a 25% cap on news market share to a shift in discretionary power to launch public interest tests from the Secretary of State to Ofcom, and a change in regulation to permit the use of the Localism Act 2011 to establish local newspapers as community assets.
The evidence sessions will take place on Tuesday 16 July from 3.30pm in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.
The sessions will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.