Measuring media plurality

  • Start: 21 October 2011
  • Status: Statement published
  • End: 18 November 2011

In October 2011, Jeremy Hunt MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport asked Ofcom to answer five questions relating to media plurality.

This request followed Ofcom’s consideration of plurality in relation to the proposed NewsCorp/BSkyB transaction (the Public Interest Test) published in December 2010. Our report on that proposed transaction suggested that the existing framework for considering plurality might no longer be equipped to achieve Parliament’s policy objective.

In answering the questions, which are summarised in the statement document below, we first considered the underlying goals of plurality, its definition and scope:

  • Plurality matters because it makes an important contribution to a well-functioning democratic society through informed citizens and preventing too much influence over the political process.
  • We have defined plurality as a) ensuring there is a diversity of viewpoints available and consumed across and within media enterprises and b) preventing any one media owner or voice having too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda.
  • Plurality needs to be considered both within organisations (i.e. internal plurality) and between organisations (i.e. external plurality).
  • In terms of scope, a review of plurality should be limited to news and current affairs but these genres should be considered across television, radio, the press and online.

An effective framework for measuring media plurality is likely to be based on quantitative evidence and analysis wherever practical. However, there are also areas where a high degree of judgement is required. The appropriate approach to exercising such judgement is ultimately for Parliament to debate and determine.

Main documents

Supporting documents

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Responder name Type
anthony-babajee.pdf (PDF File, 37.2 KB) Organisation
associated-newspapers-annex1.pdf (PDF File, 219.0 KB) Organisation
associated-newspapers.pdf (PDF File, 46.2 KB) Organisation
bbc-annex1.pdf (PDF File, 35.0 KB) Organisation
bbc-annex2.pdf (PDF File, 308.5 KB) Organisation
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