Tag Archives: david elstein

Media reform: the debates elsewhere

As we said on Monday, Lib Dem Voice over the next few weeks is taking part in a cross-blog debate on some of the most pressing issues regarding the UK media.

Earlier this week here on The Voice Mark took a look at what the Liberal Democrats have historically said on the topic and why the flaws in Ed Miliband’s policy are no cause for rejoicing.

Elsewhere on the blogosphere, David Elstein looked at those Ed Miliband policies in detail and Dan Hind put the case for ensuring greater plurality of ownership.

Next week we will be looking …

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The flaws in Ed Miliband’s media policy are no cause for rejoicing

It isn’t often that the members of one party should be worried about a proposed policy from a rival party’s leader collapsing under examination. However, David Elstein’s demolition of Ed Miliband’s proposal to limit ownership of newspapers by circulation should not provide more than a passing smile to Liberal Democrats, for it highlights the difficult of coming up with any meaningful change in the rules over newspaper ownership.

As David Elstein puts it:

Ed Miliband has proposed a 20% limit on ownership of national newspapers, measured by circulation. As the Sun’s circulation is more than 20% of all national newspaper sales, that would require News International to close The Times and either sell the Sunday Times or reposition it as a non-national newspaper (by ceasing to publish in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, where would-be readers would have to subscribe digitally). Even then the Sun’s circulation would need to be forced down, perhaps by restricting access to newsprint. In all likelihood any such measure would result in the combined circulation of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday rising above 20%, so requiring similar measures to be targeted at them.

Banning a newspaper from appearing in parts of the UK? Making it illegal for a newspaper group to buy ‘too much’ paper? There are just too few newspaper titles with a mass audience for restriction on ownership by circulation to be practical.

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