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

It's a very good question and I think I would like to step back from that, if you don't mind, to say that first of all, in my Reuters paper, I suggest that we shouldn't leap to this sort of regulation in any event, because although it's possible to identify the potential threat, it's not clear that a regulatory solution, at least for the time being, is the right one, and indeed my proposal was to, in effect, for government and other interested parties, to challenge these big digital intermediaries to take part, if you like, in the plurality debate, engage in the concerns that we have and demonstrate how they would respond to them. I don't think it is totally ridiculous to think that they might find it in their interests to -- as a means of continuing to sustain the trust of their users in the UK, to demonstrate that they are on the side of doing all of these good things.

Nevertheless, it may be that they are not as public-spirited as I would hope they would be, in which case I think that at the very least, if Ofcom then carries out a plurality review -- and as I've suggested, they should be part of the remit for Ofcom -- and finds that there are these problems or concerns, then it's at that point that it should consider what remedies could be introduced.

So my own preference would be try to get them engaged. If it fails, Ofcom should monitor through its plurality reviews and then remedies -- access remedies or their equivalent if needed at that stage.

There is a more nuclear, if you like, of saying this is so important we need to have action now along the lines of they must carry regulation we already have in broadcasting. I'm not sure we're quite there yet myself and it would be, I think, very helpful for the digital intermediaries to demonstrate what they can do themselves rather than being forced into doing it.

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