Tag Archives: Jeremy Hunt

Hunt favours individual stations for local television plan

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has backtracked on his plans to introduce a local TV network.

Hunt originally wanted a single network channel – based around a ‘national spine’ – before changing to a more locally run approach.

After a consultation, the culture secretary changed the proposals, and has now settled on a final published framework.

Hunt‘s original plans would have seen a centralised national channel with syndicated programming, which would act as the hub which local channels could feed.

Instead, the final plan favours a network of individual TV stations.

Hunt said he planned to provide bidders with a digital terrestrial TV spectrum, managed by a new licensed multiplex company.

The next task for Hunt is to, in his words, “secure prominence” for the network on Freeview and other electronic programme guides.

In a written ministerial statement, Hunt said: “The proposals include three statutory instruments: the first, to reserve sufficient local, low-cost spectrum for carrying the local TV services; the second to create a proportionate and targeted licensing regime for the spectrum and local TV service operators; and the third, to secure appropriate prominence for the licensed local services in television electronic programme guides.”

“Local TV will provide news and other content for local audiences helping to hold local institutions to account and providing proper local perspectives. This framework offers the right incentives to the market to develop innovative business models; provides greater certainty and reduced risk for investors; and encourages new market opportunities and growth,” he added.

“It is expected the first local television licences will be awarded by Ofcom from summer 2012.”

The infrastructure costs will be met from £25 million allocated as part of the BBC licence fee settlement.

Jeremy Hunt considering impact of News of the World closure on BSkyB bid

In a statement today the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is currently considering whether the announcement regarding the News of the World’s closure has any impact on the question of media plurality in relation to News Corporation’s bid for BSkyB.

The latest consultation on the bid closed at noon today. At the end of last month Hunt said he plans to give the takeover bid the go ahead, subject to a minor new consultation.

In a statement the DCMS said Hunt had “always been clear that he will take as long as is needed to reach a decision”.

The secretary of state will consider carefully all the responses submitted and take advice from Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading before reaching his decision. Given the volume of responses, we anticipate that this will take some time. He will consider all relevant factors including whether the announcement regarding the News of the World’s closure has any impact on the question of media plurality.

NUJ to protest against green light for News Corp’s BSkyB takeover

The National Union of Journalists is planning to protest at noon today outside the Department of Culture, Media and Sport headquarters in London, following culture secretary Jeremy Hunts’ announcement that he plans to give News Corp’s BSkyB takeover bid the go-ahead, subject to a minor new consultation.

The union has been readied for a demonstration since earlier indicators that Hunt was preparing to give the green light to the merger, and today confirmed the details.

NUJ members are urged to attend the event, which has been organised by the NUJ, the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and campaigning groups Avaaz and 38 Degrees.

In reference to the ongoing phone hacking investigation the NUJ’s general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “The NUJ stands opposed to News Corporation’s bid to extend its power. It is unacceptable that the BSkyB merger is even being considered whilst serious charges are outstanding. The NUJ wants the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World to be the subject of a full judicial inquiry, and the development of a media governed by public and not corporate interest.”

Guardian: Ministers agree on terms of reference for privacy committee

The Guardian reports today that culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and justice secretary Ken Clarke have agreed on terms of reference for the committee of MPs and peers to look at the balance between the rights to privacy and freedom of expression.

David Cameron called for a joint committee to be established following the celebrity injunction furore. The terms include looking at the issue of enforcement in online publishing, which has been at the heart of recent events and controversies.

According to the Guardian the full terms of reference are:

  • To consider the operation of the current law in relation to privacy and the use of anonymity injunctions and superinjunctions and to advise the government on any improvements that should be made.

In particular, to consider:

  • How the current law, both statutory and common, has operated in practice.
  • How issues relating to determining the balance between privacy and freedom of expression, including particularly determining whether there is a public interest in material concerning peoples private and family life, could best be decided.
  • Issues relating to the enforcement of anonymity injunctions and superinjunctions, including in relation to publication on the internet, parliamentary privilege and the rule of law.
  • The role of the press and issues relating to press complaints and self-regulation in the context of privacy matters, including the role of the Press Complaints Commission and Ofcom.

Guardian: Hunt rules out new privacy law

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has ruled out the introduction of a new privacy law, the Guardian reported today, following a meeting with justice secretary Ken Clarke.

This comes before the conclusion of a review of the use of superinjunctions by a special committee chaired by Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger, and expected shortly.

Hunt admitted the current situation was “bordering on farce”. Numerous gag orders have been granted to footballers, celebrities and other public figures and some of their names published on Twitter anyway.

After meeting with Clarke, Hunt said: “I don’t believe a privacy law is the way forward. We’re not minded to have a new privacy law but we’re not ruling out the need for legislative changes.”

See the full report here…

Earlier today the alleged details of a superinjunction obtained by former RBS chief Sir Fred Goodwin were raised in the House of Lords by Lib Dem peer Lord Stoneham, who was protected under parliamentary privilege.

Guardian: Shadow culture secretary calls for end to politics in media takeovers

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has reportedly said he will consider the introduction of “new provisions in respect of media plurality” in a new Communications Bill, following calls for quasi-judicial roles to be removed from ministers in media ownership decisions.

The Guardian reports today that shadow culture minister Ivan Lewis wrote to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier this year with a series of questions relating to News Corporation’s bid for BSkyB.

At the end of his letter Lewis asked the culture secretary if he would consider provisions in the new Communications Bill for the removal of politicians from having any quasi-judicial role “in relation to specific plurality and cross media ownership decisions”.

In a response, which appears to have been posted on Scribd by the Guardian, Hunt reportedly says he will be considering new provisions.

I will be publishing a green paper by the end of the year and seeking views this year in order to scope what it should include.

Following the green paper consultation we will look to make necessary changes as soon as practicable; not everything will necessarily require primary legislation and we are open to looking at what can be done more quickly where appropriate.

The correspondence comes as News Corp’s bid for full ownership of BSkyB is considered, following the acceptance by Hunt of proposals put forward by News Corp in response to concerns raised over media plurality.

This included the spinning-off of Sky News under a separate publicly limited company called Newco.

The Guardian says a decision on the deal is expected “possible as early as next week”.

Diane Coyle ‘preferred candidate’ for vice chairman of the BBC Trust

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has agreed to appoint Diane Coyle as vice chairman of the BBC Trust, the department for culture, media and sport said today,

According to a release this followed an open recruitment process and Hunt has now submitted his recommendation to Privy Council to seek the Queen’s formal approval of the appointment.

Coyle, a former economics editor of the Independent, is already a serving member of the BBC Trust.

In a statement, outgoing BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons said he welcomed the confirmation that Coyle had been put forward for the role.

“Diane has made an important contribution to the work of the Trust in its first four years, particularly in leading the Trust’s work on public value. I’m sure that in this expanded role Diane will be looking forward to the opportunity to bring her wisdom, insight and consistent good humour to even more of the Trust’s work.”

Earlier this month Lord Patten was approved by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee as a “suitable candidate” for the role of chairman of the BBC Trust after being named as the government’s preferred candidate in February.

Channel 4 News: BSkyB deal explained, Jeremy Hunt grilled

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt today cleared the way for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to purchase the 61 per cent of BSkyB it does not already own, for around £8 billion. As part of the deal, Sky News will be spun off to an ‘independent’ company.

Here, Channel 4 News picks over the details of the deal and grills the culture secretary over the issue of media plurality, which many believe to be under threat.

Guardian: Jeremy Hunt stakes his reputation on local television

Bids for expressions of interest for Jeremy Hunt’s proposed new national channel, dubbed ‘Channel 6’, are due tomorrow. The Guardian reports that community purists fear just another national channel while others are sceptical of plan’s commercial viability.

Hunt’s approach on this journey has been distinctive. The culture secretary has ignored the naysayers, ridden roughshod over the equivocal advice he has received from Lazard banker Nicholas Shott, and is relying on the bidders to make the idea work. Judging by the initial levels of interest, Hunt is doing well, although it is still early days. Tomorrow’s call for expressions of interest is limited to bidders providing a 10-page business plan – little more, critics say, than a beauty parade of half-baked ideas.

Full story on Guardian.co.uk at this link


Guardian: Greg Dyke’s LTN group to bid for national TV network

The Guardian reports this morning that the Local Television Network, which is headed by former BBC director general Greg Dyke, is planning on bidding for a new national TV network announced by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt last month.

Dyke’s group, which is yet to be incorporated, agreed at a meeting on Monday to put in a formal expression of interest in running the national channel to Hunt, who is asking for submissions by Tuesday, 1 March. LTN joins Richard Horwood’s Channel 6 in the bidding for the national TV channel.

The new channel forms part of the government’s review of media and communications, unveiled by Hunt at the Oxford Media Convention. The initial schemes will be focused on 10 to 20 local TV services, operating by 2015 with the first local services licensed from 2012.