Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Voice of the Listener and Viewer


  Voice of the Listener and Viewer (VLV) welcomes the Committee's new inquiry into the prospects for a draft Bill on Communications which is expected in the Spring of 2002. VLV will be submitting written evidence before the deadline of 11 January 2002 and would be glad to give additional oral evidence to the Committee on the following issues:

  1.  VLV is one of the leading consumer advocates on digital issues and has concerns in regard to the wider issues of the impact of technological developments on data protection and privacy, intellectual property and copyright issues in the individual's fair use of broadcast and internet material. VLV is a founder member of the European Campaign for Fair Use in Copyright, has co-ordinated campaigning at European level by its partners in the European Alliance of Listeners' and Viewers' Associations. VLV also brought together leading UK and European experts in the field to discuss the issues involved at the last three of its annual international conferences at the Royal Society of Arts in London. VLV has, also raised the issue of walled gardens, data protection and privacy at its international conferences and its annual conferences on children and television in 1999 and 2000.

  2.  Issues raised by the paving Bill currently before Parliament, especially in relation to strengthening the representation of the public interest and safeguarding the interests of citizens and consumers. VLV does not consider that the paving Bill provides adequate recognition of the need to recognise the public interest in broadcasting or adequate safeguards for the citizen and consumer interests involved. In our view, reliance on competition and the market will not prove satisfactory substitute for regulation.

  3.  The development and promotion of digital broadcasting, including local/community services and radio. VLV considers that the Government must be much more proactive in promoting the benefits of switching from analogue to digital technology, especially in promoting the digital terrestrial television platform, the only platform with the capability of reaching the 99 per cent plus of the population which currently has access to analogue services. Unless the government plays a more active part in promoting and facilitating the entry of manufacturers and service providers into the market, it will not achieve its desire of switching from analogue by 2010. The eight month lead which Britain now enjoys in digital terrestrial technology will also be lost, together with the technological benefits which might be translated into considerable employment and economic gains.

  4.  Cross-media ownership and concentration of media ownership.

7 December 2001

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