Harriet Harman suggested a cap on ownership of the media but wanted to exclude the BBC from such considerations:
No, the BBC is not included…there is all the difference in the world between a privately owned broadcaster and a public broadcaster which has its own mechanisms for accountability [ha ha] and no I don’t include it as a monopoly…it’s not a private monopoly.
I put it on one side….the standards the BBC offers are important..it offers a gold standard for other broadcasters…the role of the BBC is absolutely essential…there is no need for protection from the BBC, far from it, we need to strengthen the BBC.
The BBC could be included in any potential move to limit media ownership, the Government will announce today.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller will launch a consultation on rules governing media plurality, asking for the first time whether the state broadcaster should be covered.
If the BBC was included in rules designed to prevent any one media organisation becoming too powerful, it could be forced to rein in its dominant news website.
The BBC said:
In its own submissions to Ofcom’s review of media ownership and plurality, the BBC argued that it should be excluded from calculations because of its public service role.
The DCMS said:
‘It also makes sense that when you are trying to ensure that a particular viewpoint does not dominate the media that you ask whether the BBC should be included.’