Lords to hear from Facebook, Google and Ofcom on media plurality

15 November 2013


On Tuesday 19 November, the House of Lords Communications Committee will put questions to representatives of Facebook and Google, and following that, Ofcom

The 2013 Reuters Digital News Report revealed that, for the first time, the internet has been recorded as the main source of news for under 45s in the UK, overtaking television and newspapers. Furthermore, the report revealed that, in the context of online news consumption, the most common way of discovering news remains visiting the websites of established news brands. However, UK citizens are increasingly finding news through internet searches and social media as well. 

Against that background, at 3.30pm the Committee will explore the role that Facebook and Google play in the news diet of UK citizens, and whether and how they should be included in plurality assessments. Evidence will be heard from: 

  • Simon Milner, Policy Director, UK and Ireland, Facebook; and
  • Peter Barron, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Google.

Following on, at 4.30pm, the Committee will hear evidence from Ofcom. In 2012, Ofcom submitted two documents to the Secretary of State, proposing a new approach to plurality policy based on a system of periodic plurality reviews.

The Committee will question Ofcom on some of the detail of this proposal and explore how the system might work in practice. 

Evidence will be heard from: 

  • Steve Unger, Director of Strategy, International, Technologists and Economists; and
  • Steve Gettings, Director of Strategy.

The evidence sessions will take place on Tuesday 19 November from 3.30pm in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.

The session 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.

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