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September 15 2011

20:46

July 16 2010

10:27

First local TV stations planned by Hunt to be licensed by 2012

The government outlined its plans for structural reform this week, including a timetable for media reform from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMA).

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for DCMS, writes in the report that he hopes to “roll back media regulation” in order to “encourage investment and create the conditions for sustainable growth”.

Plans for local media include a relaxation of the rules governing cross-media ownership by November this year and for the first of Hunt’s local TV stations to be licensed by summer 2012, with a target of creating 10 to 20 new stations by the end of parliament.

Actions laid out in the plans include changes to the media regulatory regime by reforming Ofcom and deregulating the broadcasting sector. Measures to scale back Ofcom’s duties are planned as part of a Public Bodies Reform Bill and Communications Bill, with the legislative process set to begin by November 2012.

Hunt also plans to agree the terms of a new licence fee settlement between July 2011 and April 2012.

He said these plans aim to give the public an idea of the programme to follow, but that much “broader ambitions” will be set out in the autumn in a spending review.

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June 09 2010

09:47

Jeremy Hunt: No local TV is one of biggest gaps in British broadcasting

In his inaugural speech on the media and digital economy yesterday, new Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt tied his colours firmly to the local TV mast:

New York has six local TV stations – compared to London which has not one.

Birmingham Alabama, an example some of you may have heard me use before, has eight local TV stations – despite being a quarter the size of our Birmingham that, again, doesn’t even have one.

Paris, Lyon and Marseilles have local TV. Why not Glasgow, Sheffield and Bristol?

Unfortunately even as politicians have paid lip service to localism, our broadcasting ecology has pursued the polar opposite model – with a large proportion of news beamed shamelessly from the centre.

In his speech, Hunt said he would:

He also outlined plans for the roll out of superfast broadband in the UK. His speech is available in full at this link, but a Wordle of the top 50 words used gives an overview of his priorities for media:

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December 09 2009

22:23

Hyperlocal websites? They’re just ‘tittle tattle’ says MP

The final select committee on ‘The future for local and regional media’ took place Tuesday, with Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders apparently writing off the whole of the web as being incapable of holding power to account.

Here’s some of the rather bizarre exchange with Creative Industries Minister Sion Simon, who was giving evidence before the committee (also on BBC’s Today in Parliament around 18 minutes in – worth listening to for the tone with which Sanders delivers his dismissal):

Sion Simon MP (Labour, Birmingham Erdington)
Who will go to the council? Hyper-local news-sites like Pits n Pots in Stoke on Trent will go to the council meetings – as they do. Stoke on Trent has got a successful local newspaper but it also has a very successful hyperlocal news site in Pits n Pots who, if you want to know, what’s happening in the council and behind the back stairs in the council and everything to do with local government in Stoke on Trent you’re at least as likely to go to Pits n Pots as you are to go to the Stoke Sentinel.

Adrian Sanders MP (Liberal Democrat, Torbay) – Interrupts
I’m not convinced.

Sion Simon MP (Labour, Birmingham Erdington)
The point here is that it is news that’s important and it’s scrutiny of democracy that’s important to the citizen and we need to be clear that as it migrates from one platform it migrates sometimes onto another…

Adrian Sanders MP (Liberal Democrat, Torbay) – Interrupts
But it’s not news, it’s just tittle tattle, which is what you appear to be describing as the alternative to the Stoke Sentinel which you’ve just mentioned.

Sion Simon MP (Labour, Birmingham Erdington)
Have you read Pits n Pots?

Adrian Sanders MP (Liberal Democrat, Torbay)
No [Disdainfully]

Sion Simon MP (Labour, Birmingham Erdington)
It’s frankly a bit rich of you to dismiss it as tittle tattle if you don’t know anything about it.

Adrian Sanders MP (Liberal Democrat, Torbay)
It’s a website

Sion Simon MP (Labour, Birmingham Erdington)
That doesn’t make it ….. You think that anything that’s online is tittle tattle?

Adrian Sanders MP (Liberal Democrat, Torbay)
I think, most of it …

Sion Simon MP (Labour, Birmingham Erdington)
I think that’s a ridiculous view.

Adrian Sanders MP (Liberal Democrat, Torbay)
Most of what’s online is indeed tittle tattle, and opinion.

Sion Simon MP (Labour, Birmingham Erdington)
That’s just nonsense and a ridiculous view

What is particularly ironic is that the MP’s dismissal of hyperlocal blogs as being incapable of monitoring local power should be reported verbatim by… a website. As for the commercial media, they only reported what Michael Grade had to say.

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