Hunt relaxes media rules

CULTURE secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday outlined plans to scrap cross-media ownership rules.

The changes mean that holders of Channel 3 licences like ITV, STV and UTV will also be able to own regional papers without restrictions.

An aide to Hunt said: “We’re basically clearing the decks. The regulations are outdated. We want to deregulate as much as possible.”

But industry executives said the move was unlikely to lead to a wave of consolidation in the local media sector.

Rob Woodward, chief executive of STV, told City A.M.: “Removing unnecessary restrictions has to be a good thing, but I’m not sure it will lead to a huge amount of change. I’m not sure that regional press and holders of Channel 3 licences are a good mix.”