BBC media dominance may be curbed in government review

THE BBC could see its powers curbed as part of a review of the rules on media plurality, the government announced yesterday.

Investigations into excessive dominance of the media market do not currently look at the role of the public broadcaster. But the review, unveiled by culture secretary Maria Miller, will consider changing this on the basis that BBC spends more on current affairs than all other UK broadcasters combined.

Existing media ownership rules – which aim to limit the dominance of one media group – still focus on measures such as newspaper sales while completely ignoring the popularity of news websites.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport also released its much-delayed vision for the future of communications, having dropped plans for a full-blown white paper.

It sets out plans to legislate to ensure public service broadcasters remain at the top of future electronic TV listings, as well as setting a date for switching off analogue radio by the end of 2013.

But critics attacked the decision to include a commitment to introducing tough web filters in an attempt to block images of child abuse and copyright infringement.

“Ineffective filters will harm small digital-first companies mistakenly caught in blocks,” Sara Kelly of the Coalition for A Digital Economy told City A.M. “Making this a core part of the government’s internet policy sends a bad message to potential entrepreneurs and their investors.”