“The Government believes in localism and the enormous benefits of fostering local cultural, economic and political identities,” said Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.
The plans he set out involve:
- reforming local cross-media ownership rules and asking Ofcom to look at the case for removing all cross-media ownership rules at a local level
- options for supporting new local TV stations in towns and cities
“We are driving forward greater transparency at all levels of public life - and the challenge and scrutiny of local journalists is vital to that,” added Mr Hunt. ”I want a modern regulatory environment which will help nurture a new generation of hungry, ambitious and profitable local media companies.”
Mr Hunt has appointed Nicholas Shott, Head of UK Investment Banking at Lazard, to conduct an independent commercial assessment of local TV over the summer. Following this assessment, DCMS will set out a local media action plan due to be published in the autumn.
He also announced that the Government will not be going ahead with pilots for Independently Funded News Consortia. Funding for the pilots will now be used to support the roll-out of superfast broadband.