Letter from Sir Christopher Meyer to The Times
Below is the text of a letter from Sir Christopher Meyer, following the recent speech from Tony Blair on the media, which has been published in today's Times - 15 June 2007.
“In his ‘feral beasts’ speech, the Prime Minister referred to the inevitability of change in the regulatory framework for the media. He cited the looming European Audio Visual Media Services Directive which may result in greater regulations for television services streamed over the internet, and his comments have been interpreted as a call for tougher, statutory regulation of newspapers – although he did not say this.
But the AVMS Directive, designed as a liberalising measure for television, seems likely to exclude online newspapers. The trend across Europe is for the burden of formal legal regulation on the flow of information to be reduced, not enhanced. This is for obvious reasons: the media now compete in a global market; their competitors include non-commercial operators; information is disseminated in real time; and traditional media, both television and the press, do not wish to be disadvantaged by the freedoms enjoyed by online publishers. The pressure is all one way.
Yes, the regulatory landscape is changing to keep abreast of developments in communication and technology. But the hallmarks of effective content regulation will be: principles-based rather than prescriptive rules; flexibility of structures and the ability to move quickly to resolve disputes; and the buy-in and co-operation of the regulated industry. This describes the PCC now. Imposed content rules for the press and the internet are objectionable in principle and now impossible to enforce in practice”.
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