Labour adds manifesto pledge on media plurality and 'clearer rules' on who can own TV stations

Labour’s official manifesto, published today, includes a new line about Ofcom that did not appear in last week’s leaked version of the document.

The new paragraph reads: “To protect democracy and media freedom, we will take steps to ensure that Ofcom is better able to safeguard a healthy plurality of media ownership and to put in place clearer rules on who is fit and proper to own or run TV and radio stations.”

All other aspects of the party’s manifesto on the “media”, as reported by Press Gazette, have remained as they were.

In its last general election manifesto, released in April 2015, Labour promised to “take steps to protect the principle of media plurality, so that no media outlet can get too big”.

The manifesto pledge appears to deal with concerns about the Murdoch family’s growing media power in the UK.

Murdoch-owned News UK publishes The Sun, Times and Sunday Times titles.

Ofcom is reviewing a proposed £12bn takeover of broadcaster Sky by Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. The review has been postponed as a result of the June’s general election.

Labour’s manifesto on the media in full:

The BBC is a national asset which we should all be proud of. Unlike the Conservatives, Labour will always support it and uphold its independence. We will ensure the BBC and public service broadcasting has a healthy future. Labour is committed to keeping Channel 4 in public ownership and will guarantee the future of Welsh-language broadcaster S4C.

Victims of phone hacking have been let down by a Conservative government that promised them justice, but failed to follow through. We will implement the recommendations of part one of the Leveson Inquiry and commence part two which will look into the corporate governance failures that allowed the hacking scandal to occur.

Local newspapers and broadcasting in Britain are an important part of our democracy and culture. We are concerned about closures of local media outlets and the reductions in number of local journalists. Labour will hold a national review local media and into the ownership of national media to ensure plurality.

To protect democracy and media freedom, we will take steps to ensure that Ofcom is better able to safeguard a healthy plurality of media ownership and to put in place clearer rules on who is fit and proper to own or run TV and radio stations

Read the full manifesto.

Picture: Reuters/Darren Staples 

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