Towards a New Approach for Media Plurality: Suggestions for Ofcom’s Consultation

It has been more than four months now since Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation decided to withdraw its bid to fully acquire British Sky Broadcasting (BSkYB) on 13 July 2011. Although that decision put an end to a case which had kept the British media and public opinion in upheaval for more than a year, it did not stop the debate on how a plural media environment can be both regulated and enforced. While the Leveson inquiry is now investigating the ethics and freedom of the press after the so called ‘phone-hacking’ scandal, Ofcom – the UK media regulator – has recently launched a specific consultation on measuring media plurality.

The consultation aims to collect evidence on several aspects of media plurality in order to implement future regulation in the field. In particular, Ofcom asks which approach should be adopted to measure plurality and whether setting absolute limits on news market share would be an advisable solution. Regarding these questions, a few suggestions can be drawn on the basis of recent research which I carried out at the London School of Economics…

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