The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) is planning to publish a White Paper in early 2013, with a Communications Bill introduced by the last session of this Parliament.
Almost a decade has passed since the last Communications Act. Since then the media industry has been completely transformed by innovations in technology, the rise and fall of media companies, the bursting of the dot.com bubble, the recession and changes to employment practice. Legislation and regulation needs to relate to this new landscape.
The DCMS says there is now an opportunity to turn the UK into Europe's technology hub. Its introduction to the Communications Review sets out its stall for "light regulation". It is looking at how growth in broadcasting can be brought about through regulatory change and how content, platforms and technology will drive further growth.
But that does not stop the NUJ saying what our priorities are for a Communications Act, the future of the media industry and the role of broadcasting in the democratic process.
You can read the DCMS's consultation page on the Communications Review here
The government wants a response to its four themes -- The Consumer perspective, Competition in Content Markets, Maximising the value of spectrum to support growth and innovation, Driving investment and growth in the UK's TV content industries – by September 14, 2012.
There will be a seminar on Supporting growth in the radio (audio) sector on September 13, 2012, and the DCMS will be submitting updates on Intellectual Property and content regulation in the autumn.
The DCMS is waiting for the results of the Leveson Inquiry. The Inquiry showed exactly how media moguls, such as the Murdochs, used their powerful position in the media to put pressure on politicians in order to pursue their commercial interests. The NUJ wants to look at what is needed to ensure a fair, diverse and vibrant media for all. The NUJ wants to look at the ways in which the government can foster growth within the industry. The NUJ wants to look at how one of the most socially exclusive professions can be opened up to talent beyond those who can work unpaid – a common practice in the industry.
The convergence of media and the divergence of means of access to it have implications for plurality, competition and equality of access for citizens and customers. It also transforms the way members in the media and creative industries are employed and work. How should the union respond to these changes?