Efficiencies of scale or abuse of power.
In our March
comment we put out views on the consolidation that appeared
to be increasingly likely as governments round the world moved to
ease media ownership restrictions. At that stage we felt that condolidation
had now moved so far that the cons far outweighed the pros.
Efficiencies of scale.
Abuses of power.
Such to us would be a case where a major group tried
to exert unfair pressures on the suppliers, supporters or customers
of a small one to move away their business from the latter as opposed
to transacting it with the former in a particular case because of
a threat of action in a wider frame.
Pro-active rather than reactive.
The result of the above has been to allow the
abuse then curb it. In our view it would be better to be pro-active
and make it so clear in advance that the penalties for breaches
would be draconian that there is a much stronger incentive to
The latter, we would suggest, is an area calling
for vigorous debate at the moment.
Both are not areas specific to broadcasting but
strong anti-trust legislation and accounting rules are just as
necessary for media operations as for any other business.
Since a broadcaster operates by virtue of a licence to use a limited spectrum resource over and above the general legal protection offered to any company, it is quite reasonable to have strict rules concerning the issuing and renewal of such licences.
To us, where there has been abuse of power, the
person or company responsible is unfir to hold a licence; the
only question in such a case is whether the abuse was gross in
which case every single licence held by the broadcaster should
be at risk or limited in which case the sanction should reasonably
apply to only the specific areas or stations involved.
Any views? Please comment
on the above. For that matter, if you can put the time aside,
we'd like your "Guest comment" pages this year to stimulate
more feedback and dialogue.
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