Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Why the Government Must Listen to What Lord Puttnam Has to Say

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Why the Government Must Listen to What Lord Puttnam Has to Say

Article excerpt

The world of the media is spinning faster and faster. Some of us can remember a time when the government of the day waited for reports to be published before they were kicked into the long grass.

Clearly those days have gone forever. The recommendations of Lord Puttnam's committee on the Communications Bill have already been repudiated before they have even been formally set out.

Before it is too late, the government should listen to what Lord Puttnam has to say on opening up British broadcasting to foreign ownership and greater accountability for the BBC - particularly on commercial ventures.

The Puttnam committee should not be treated like any old select committee that can be ignored with impunity. It includes people who have more experience of the issues than most of the responsible ministers.

Yet ask culture secretary Tessa Jowell whether she is prepared to think again on foreign ownership and the mantra never changes. That is ' a decision not a proposal'.

New investment is ultimately more important than ownership, opponents were just being jingoistic. And anyway, Lord Currie and Ofcom can hold the line on programme standards.

Interestingly, Lord Currie, an economist who believes in open markets and competition, does not see much sense in opening up the British television market to non-EU countries without reciprocity. At least his lordship is already demonstrating that he is not a Tony's Crony.

It is still, however, difficult to see why the government should be so hung up on this issue other than the fact that Tony Blair has decided, and it is difficult for him to admit he could conceivably have made an error of judgement. …

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