January 14, 2004

We have never been closer to state control of the press

Article by Stephen Glover on how Ofcom may be a threat to freedom in the U.K.:

Ofcom’s draft document shows that it will take a minute interest in the content of newspapers. Where two groups propose to merge, the regulator will require detailed information about ‘column inches dedicated to advertising, regional/local stories, sport, human interest stories, features, etc.’. It will want to know about ‘the current level of contact’ between a proprietor and his editor and other senior members of staff, and ‘the likely level of involvement of proprietors in editorial decisions’. The regulator will also expect to be told whether a buyer of a newspaper intends to retain ‘the existing editor and reporting staff’, and it will want to know ‘what arrangements are envisaged for ensuring accurate presentation of news’.