Amendment 67

Part of Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords am 4:15 pm ar 13 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green 4:15, 13 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, I rise very briefly for two reasons. First, I offer Green support to the direction in which we are heading and join in the congratulations for the noble Baroness, Lady Stowell, on all the work she has done here.

Before I begin the second point, I declare my historical interest as a former editor of the Guardian Weekly and a former employee of the Times. I will refer to the report Who Owns the UK Media?, published last year by the Media Reform Coalition at Goldsmiths. I very much agree with what the noble Baroness said about the importance of the principle of press freedom, and with the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, about the free press as a foundation of our democracy, and that ownership matters. But I urge all noble Lords who take part in this Report to consider how much diversity of media ownership matters.

As it says in that report, three UK publishers—DMG Media, News UK and Reach—control 90% of the print reach in the UK and 40% of the online reach. The report’s authors said there was an “urgent need for reform”, and urged Ofcom, Parliament and the Government to take action to address diversity of media ownership. If DMG Media were to buy the Telegraph Media Group, its print share would rise from 42% to 47%.

I very much welcome what I think we are about to hear and all the work that has gone into this, but I urge noble Lords to consider the much more work that needs to be done to achieve the diversity of voices that is so crucial to the strength of our democracy.