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

Yes. Well, of course, as we said this morning there is an enormous difference between what sections of the public are interested in and what is in the public interest, and I think it's important to -- just to recap a little bit of what was said this morning, that there are plenty of interesting and workable definitions of the public interest. The Press Complaints Commission likes to suggest it's a very, very difficult thing to define, the public interest. I don't think it actually is. If you look at the BBC editorial guidelines, as were mentioned this morning, I think those are a very good encapsulation of the public interest, but to come back to your question, how does -- you know, how does the market operate as a censor, well, you know, if in the so-called free market the big fish eat the little fish, and you get an ever greater process of concentration, there will just be less and less and less newspapers. We've seen sadly, you know, over the years, a truly remarkable decimation of newspapers.

What happens now, of course, is you have really really intense competition for readers at the red top end of the market and also in the mid-market segment between the Mail and Express. If one was to believe the kind of free market theorists, what we'd have here is very different newspapers competing with one another and against each other. What seems to happen is they all seem to compete on the same ground. They all seem to compete with the same kind of material for presumably the same kinds of readers or the same range of interests in that range of readers.

So, for example, when Rupert Murdoch bought the Sun and turned it into a very, very different newspaper from what it had been before, the Daily Mirror, rather than maintaining its previous, in my view, excellent kind of example of popular journalism, instead starts to try to compete with the Sun on its own terms. So the range of material within the press, at those two levels, the mid-market and the red top, seems to become narrowed by competition, not broadened by competition.

So what the free market theorists argue should happen doesn't seem to happen. You have more diversity at the top end of the market. You know, a paper like the Telegraph, which is quite significantly different from a paper like the Independent, which is again different from the Guardian, I would argue. You have market differentiation there, but part of the reason for that is that, oddly enough, broadsheet newspapers are not so dependent upon readers for their revenue because the broadsheet newspapers can attract much, much more advertising revenue than the red tops and the mid-market tabloids do. So you don't have that kind of desperate competition for readers, which as I say, unfortunately doesn't seem to broaden the range of papers at the mid-market and red top end, it seems to narrow the range of news -- everyone seems to be competing for the same readers and for the same interests in those readers, and that of course again is the section of the market which is -- you know, where the journalism has occurred which has brought about this Inquiry.

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