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

Well, I think it's very desirable that there should be a plurality of the media. I think the media is so influential in so many ways, particularly in the way it impacts upon public opinion and the democratic system, that there needs to be a proper plurality of it, and so I do take the view that Parliament should set a limit on the percentage of the written press and the percentage of the electronic media that can be under the ownership of either one individual or one company.

And I think collectively they also need to take a view -- Parliament needs to take a view on the sum total of cross-media ownership, by which I mean media ownership of all the different media outlets. There should be a limit beyond which, in the interests of plurality, no individual or single company should be permitted to go.

Now, it's very difficult to set that limit, because what one does not want to do is to, in the interests of plurality, set the limit so low that you actually inhibit the capital necessary to make sure that the media continues so develop, and so my instinct has always been that the cross-media limit should be in the 15 to 20 per cent bracket. But I freely confess that that is an instinct. Parliament would need to look at it much closer than that, and I think Parliament should reach a view, and it may be a quite different view from the one I have set out here, and I would be perfectly happy with that. But I think we do need to have some clear indication of what the limit is to ensure that there are a collective number of voices representing media opinion.

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