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

There are many -- watching the Inquiry unfold, I've had the distinct impression that media pluralism is treated as an add-on, and at the centre of the Inquiry is a reform of self-regulation, whereas I and a number of colleagues see it the other way around, not only reading the terms of reference of the Inquiry but looking at statements made by the Prime Minister.

For example, last summer, the importance of market structure in explaining the situation in which we find ourselves cannot, in my view, be overestimated. I'll just quote David Cameron from last July:

"Because party leaders were so keen to win the support of newspapers, we turned a blind eye to the need to sort this issue, to get on top of the bad practices, to change the way our newspapers are regulated."

Now, you can look at this statement in a variety of ways but I would suggest focusing on the first part:

"Because party leaders were so keen to win the support of newspapers ..."

It relates to my earlier point in relation to public policy in terms of no-go areas of public policy.

Just to encapsulate the importance of making strong recommendations to deal with the pluralism issue, I would just simply observe: if I was advising an incoming government, whether that was the New Labour government or the Cameron government, I would advise them not to alienate significant media interests. The reason for that is market structure, concentration of media ownership, which I think we've heard a lot of evidence has led to, in the past 20 years -- is it too strong to say a disaster, really, in terms of democratic legitimacy in this country?

So that is not a new problem. Going back through successive royal commissions of the press, this issue of media concentration has been discussed, it's been discussed in countries all over Europe and there are policy frameworks in place to deal with it, and in the paper we discuss some of those.

But if I can just note a couple of things -- draw to the attention of the Inquiry a couple of other things. A judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights just last month gave a judgment which affirmed the positive obligation of states to protect media pluralism. That's the Trenta Italia Secta v Italy(sic), and this builds on their previous decision from 2009.

So there is a positive obligation on states to protect media plurality. I think what distinguishes this, just to wrap up --

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