Lords embark on major new inquiry into media plurality

07 June 2013

The House of Lords Communications Committee is taking up the challenge of examining media plurality in its new inquiry, and will begin its first evidence session by questioning academics and specialists on Tuesday 11 June.

Media plurality is a highly politically-charged area of policy and has recently been in the spotlight through concerns raised about the proposed (and subsequently dropped) acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation.

During the last year, both Ofcom and Lord Justice Leveson have made a number of proposals regarding reform to media plurality policy and legislation; but both ultimately left it to Parliament to give guidance on controversial areas where political consensus and judgement are required.

At 3.30pm, the Committee will begin laying out the issues and opening the debate by speaking to:

  • Dr Rachael Craufurd Smith, University of Edinburgh; and
  • Dr Damian Tambini, London School of Economics.

Following on, at 4.30pm, the Committee will question:

  • Professor Robert Picard, Reuters Institute, University of Oxford; and
  • Robin Foster, Communications Chambers.

The Committee will quiz the witnesses on issues including:

  • first principles: why media plurality matters and whether it incorporates not just political coverage but also geographical, gender and generational representation;
  • scene setting: whether media plurality is under threat and what its prospects might be; and
  • substantive reforms: what should be included in a review of plurality, what should that measure, what interventions are appropriate and who should execute them.

The evidence sessions will take place at 3.30pm on Tuesday 11 June in Committee Room 2.

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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