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Lords to hear from Sir Harold Evans on media plurality

On Tuesday 22 October, the House of Lords Communications Committee will take evidence from Sir Harold Evans as well as representatives from the Media Reform Coalition and Avaaz.

Sir Harold Evans has a long and distinguished career in journalism. In particular, as then Editor of the Sunday Times, he was personally involved in approving the undertakings made in relation to The Times and Sunday Times at the time of their sale in 1981. The Committee will put questions to him on the effectiveness of such undertakings – a matter on which he has expressed some doubt – particularly in light of the recent confirmation made by the Independent National Directors of the appointments of new editors at those titles. The Committee will also explore a range of other questions arising from debates on media plurality, drawing on Sir Harold Evans' unique perspective and wider experience in the media.

Following on from that, the Committee will interrogate the proposals for reform to plurality policy made by The Media Reform Coalition and Avaaz, when it speaks to Meredith Alexander, Campaigns Director at Avaaz and Professor Des Freedman, Chair, and Dr Justin Schlosberg, co-founder, of The Media Reform Coalition.

While distinct, their proposals include common elements such as a 20% cap on the permissible share of any one commercial entity in designated media markets, such as newspapers, radio, television. The Committee will seek to clarify these proposals and to explore some of the arguments which have been made for and against them during the course of this inquiry.

The evidence sessions will take place on Tuesday 22 October from 3.30pm in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.

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