Friday, 18 March 2011

Book orders now accepted

Here's the link on the Cambridge website - email me for more on reviewing, timing and introductory offers.

Towards co-regulation? Carr on Madelin

John Carr has a lot of history as a lobbyist for Internet content regulation, and can be a thoughtful as well as provocative public policy entrepreneur. His blog post on Robert Madelin's view of content self-regulation is required reading - Madelin is something if a regulatory expert from his former role in consumer regulation - and though the word 'co-regulation' does not appear in Carr's post - be sure it is lurking ever larger in the background: “This is a crucial year for the legitimacy of the self-regulatory model.”

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Marsden response to News Corporation undertakings in lieu

Dear sirs
I am responding to your consultation on the proposed undertakings regarding the BSkyB merger with News Corporation. I am a Senior Lecturer at the School of Law of the University of Essex, Colchester, UK and a Fellow of both Keio University and GLOCOM, International University of Japan. I have published on media pluralism, network neutrality and other issues surrounding bottleneck gatekeepers in European communications since 1997. I have also consulted for various Member State governments, the European Commission itself, the OSCE and Council of Europe, as well as non-EU governments and private corporations and thinktanks during that period. My most recent book is ‘Net Neutrality: Towards a Co-regulatory Solution’ (Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2010). My blog on network neutrality in Europe has received more than 30,000 viewings in 2010.
I am responding to the consultation as an individual. None of my submission is confidential and it can be republished in its entirety on the consultation website.
Given the clear case that the proposed undertakings in lieu are worth nothing, evidenced by the behaviour of independent directors at Times Newspapers since 1981 (and especially the termination of Harold Evans at The Sunday Times: see Evans, H. [1984] Good Times, Bad Times ), and by Murdoch family control of News Corp.  with a significantly lesser shareholding than 39%, it is clear that the proposed undertakings are inadequate.
In order to enhance pluralism and diversity, it would be better, in addition to this set of undertakings, to concentrate on both:  [1] the proposed local television licences (with applicants Channel 6 and others), with a federated news provider model such as that which Viznews provided circa 1990 (itself a model for Sky regional news services at that time); [2] the addition of diversity and pluralism through online media, notably a revival of the Public Service Publisher concept, as well as provision of must-carry for local news on ISPs' video services - see my responses on network neutrality to the EC and Ofcom, as well as the report commissioned by the Council of Europe (and earlier academic articles on media pluralism and the Internet).
I therefore urge a full referral to the Competition Commission of the sector as a whole, even if political expediency suggests this particular deal will be subject to the tender mercies of the City of London rather than any regulatory intervention.
Dr Chris  Marsden
Director, EXCCEL