Does Ofcom Offer a Credible Solution to Bias in Media Public Interest Mergers in the United Kingdom?

David Reader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

On 4 February 2014, the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications published its Report on Media Plurality proposing a number of changes to media ownership regulation in the UK. Among the most notable is the proposal to grant decision-making powers to the media regulator, Ofcom, in mergers raising potential media plurality concerns. This role is currently performed by the Secretary of State but the ability of politicians to undertake this role impartially has recently been called into question. In particular, the close contact between a NewsCorp lobbyist and a Special Adviser to (the then Culture Secretary) Jeremy Hunt during the NewsCorp/BSkyB assessment, as exposed by the Leveson Inquiry, highlights the sheer extent to which politicians can be subjected to undue influence in the media sector. This article scrutinises the Lords' proposals and finds that re-allocating the decision-making role to Ofcom could could amount to substituting one problem for another.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalCPI Antitrust Chronicle
VolumeApril 2014
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Merger control
  • Public interest
  • competition law
  • competition policy
  • House of Lords
  • media
  • Decision making

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