Media Ownership (Regulation)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:14 am on 14th September 2011.

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Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 11:14 am, 14th September 2011

The hon. Gentleman makes a fair point. It is a matter of regret. As he well knows, there is an adage: “If you want to tell a secret, the best place to do it is probably in the Chamber of the House of Commons,” because it is rarely reported. Those of us who love the House of Commons and politics would love for the media to return to devoting a page in the newspaper to reporting parliamentary proceedings. We have to listen to Radio 4’s “Today in Parliament”, or there is, of course, the BBC Parliament channel, which we can watch all day if we want. Many of us—I am sure that you are the same, Mr Hood—prefer nothing to watching the Parliament channel whenever we get a spare moment, catching up on the odd Select Committee appearance by our colleagues and so on. I find it riveting viewing.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for securing this important debate. As I said, a huge number of issues are involved, including media plurality, media ownership and regulation of the press. Our approach is twin-track. We are moving towards an important communications Bill in a changing area of technology, alongside the important and independent Leveson inquiry into the press.