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Media Bill debated in the Lords

29 February 2024

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Members of the House of Lords debated the main objectives of the Media Bill, during second reading on Wednesday 28 February.

The aim of the Media Bill is to update the existing legislative framework on broadcasting governance following the UK's exit from the EU and to address technological changes, such as the rise of on-demand services.

The bill also seeks to provide for the sustainability of Channel 4 and regulate the powers, remit and audit of Welsh language channel S4C.

Debate on the draft law

During second reading, members discussed the key issues in the bill and drew attention to specific concerns or areas where they think amendments (changes) are needed.

Members speaking

Contributing members included:

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Conservative), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government. Outlining the aims of the bill, Lord Parkinson said:

'The bill seeks to modernise the framework for public service television...the bill ensures that public service content is made available and easy to find on modern platforms such as smart televisions, set-top boxes and streaming sticks.

'[the bill] contains measures specifically designed to support the sustainability of Channel 4. 

'The bill will remove a threat to the freedom of the press.'

Motion to regret

Members also considered a motion in the name of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean (Conservative), which regretted that the bill does not address the ownership and control of UK newspapers by foreign governments.

Following the debate on the floor of the House, the motion was withdrawn.

Get involved

Catch up

Watch the Parliament TV recording or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Explore further information

Find out more about the bill in the House of Lords Library briefing.

Next steps

Committee stage, a chance to closely scrutinise elements of the bill and make changes, is yet to be scheduled.

Image: Nicolas J Leclercq / Unsplash

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