CONTENT / ECONOMIC REGULATION
30. The National Consumer Council was strongly
in favour of the bringing together of economic and content regulation
as being the "logic" behind a unified regulator. However,
other witnesses were concerned lest the traditional debate over
content regulation predisposed OFCOM to apply a similarly self-regulatory
"light touch" with respect to economic issues. NTL argued
that, of the regulators identified by the Government for absorption
into OFCOM, none had a tradition of focussing on economic regulation
in the broadcasting sector. We regard the finding of the proper
balance between content and economic regulation as one of the
key challenges that OFCOM will face as a fledgling institutionno
matter how experienced are the individuals at the helm.
31. The OFCOM Board must be accountable to Parliament.
We recommend that the final Communications Bill contains a
duty on the Chairman of the OFCOM Board to submit an annual report
on OFCOM's activities, expenditure and achievements to Parliament.
The Chairman and Chief Executive of OFCOM would then be subject
to the same examination by this Committee, on the basis of that
report, as has become the practice with the Chairman and Director-General
of the BBC.
25 Progress against this target, and the process behind
the initiative, was the subject of a recent report by the National
Audit Office, Government on the Web II, Session 2001-02,
HC 764. Back
Communications White Paper, paragraph 8.6.2 Back
Ev 160-162 Back
Ev 162 Back
HC 161, 2000-01, para 139 Back
Ev 118 Back
Q 207, Ev 75 and 118 Back