The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

I agree that positive responsibilities and positive regulation is very important. In the case of broadcasting, it's been a very significant part of the regulatory mix, but it's not just about saying what you can't do, but what you can do. Or encouraging you to what you should do.

When you go online, the entry barriers are lower. You don't need to invest in a printing press or have access to limited spectrum, so by definition there is a lot of speech out there.

Where I would draw the line is saying that simply having lots of opportunities to speak, that means we're out of the woods; I don't think that's the case. If you look at online traffic, there are some large UK newspapers that are also very significant players online. There are also other intermediaries, search engines and web hosts, who will influence the way in which the user gets to see what's going on, so although everybody can produce, there are a lot of voices, so there are other centres of power which may not be newspapers or broadcasters, but are important and active online.

But there are -- the benefit of the online media is something that was touched on this morning around the right of reply, which is that in some online discussion areas, the right of reply is part of the culture. It is built into the nature of online communications that you can respond to it. I would favour a right of reply for the press. It works in a number of other European states, it's important in terms of broadcasting. I think where it complements what my two colleagues on the panel have said, it's about promoting more speech in response to speech that you can then promote further opportunities to speak.

The last thing I'd say is that online media may still need encouragement in terms of allowing a diverse range of views to be aired, of enabling non-commercial approaches to be taken. Public service broadcasters, not just in the UK but elsewhere, have had trouble going online because it is difficult to translate a public service mindset into an online environment because you don't have the old trade-off of in response to a limited spectrum you will represent all the nations or all the regions equally.

But when broadcasters and newspapers go online, they can add to the type of conversation that is taking place, but there may still also be a role for the state, not simply in the only time we hear talk of law on the Internet being about what should be banned, but about creating communicative spaces online, including potentially financial support where necessary because we have seen a crisis in the local media where local newspapers are in trouble, where the BBC on competition grounds has had difficulty going into local video, and there is a need to recognise that we can't simply rely on the Internet to come along and solve all our problems. That would be my conclusion on that. There are great opportunities for speech, for criticism, for investigation and so on online, but just pointing towards the Internet won't do it.

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