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Local and Regional Media

Volume 450: debated on Friday 20 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department is taking to encourage greater diversity of ownership of local and regional media, with particular reference to newspapers. (94292)

I have been asked to reply.

Decisions about ownership of local and regional media and newspapers are a commercial matter for relevant parties in the industry. However, where mergers take place within the media, the Secretary of State does have certain powers to intervene to examine public interest issues that may be raised by such concentrations. Full details of the media mergers regime may be found in the Communications Act 2003 sections 373 to 389 (chapter 2 of part 5 of the Act) which amended the Enterprise Act 2002 so as to introduce the new regime. The Communications Act 2003 is published on the OPSI website at: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2003/ukpga_20030021_en.pdf. The explanatory notes to the Communications Act 2003 may be found at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/en2003/ukpgaen_20030021_ en.pdf. Separately, the DTI has published guidance on the operation of the media mergers regime explaining how public interest interventions in media mergers would work in practice. The guidance may be found on the DTI website at http://www.dti.gov.uk/files/file14331.pdf.