Clouds over media plurality

Once again, talking about media plurality inevitably means talking about Rupert Murdoch. Since News Corp announced its intention of totally acquiring BSkyB in June, the UK media have been in upheaval.

The key question to which the EU Commission, OFCOM and Vincent Cable (the Secretary of State for Business) are supposed to give an answer in the next weeks, is whether this deal will reduce the pluralism of information in the UK. It is a tough job, due to the difficulty to practically measure a broad concept like “pluralism”, that is not simply a synonym of diversity in ownership.

That was also the matter of discussion of a lively debate held at the LSE on the 14th of December. The panel was organised by POLIS and chaired by Steve Hewlett, writer, broadcaster and media consultant. It featured Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the Guardian, Chris Goodall, Consultant to Enders Analysis, Professor Steven Barnett, Professor of Communications at the University of Westminster, Pablo Ibanez Colomo from the LSE and David Elstein, former CEO of Channel 5.

Polis Director Charlie Beckett reported the event on his blog, and also published a background dossier that I made in relation to the debate. Key decisions are due in the next weeks, and we look forward to continuing the debate.

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