Peer Blasts UK Communications Legislation

03 December 2002

The Communications Bill set to relax Britain’s media regulation has come under fire from a senior peer.

Lord McNally, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, condemned the legislation as offering inadequate protection for the public against commercial interests and urged consumer groups to keep pressure on the government to amend the bill.

“Commercial interests that have billions riding on the outcome will do their utmost to weaken and undermine the bill's public service commitments,” the peer warned at a meeting of independent consumer body Voice of the Viewer & Listener. “There are dangers and weaknesses in the bill which, if left unamended, will undermine plurality, quality and choice in our media.”

Although the bill has been welcomed within the media industry, Lord McNally warns it will have a detrimental effect.

He continued: “There is the potential for a weakening to the commitment to national and regional news and production, a dumbing down of programmes generally and a concerted effort to marginalise the BBC under the cloak of fair competition.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff