Memorandum submitted by the Media Trust
The Media Trust, a registered charity, resources
the communications needs of the UK's voluntary and community sector.
We work in partnership with the media and communications industry
to provide media training and advice, video and TV production
for and about the voluntary sector. Media and communications professionals
volunteer their time and resources to help charities and community
groups across the UK. The Media Trust developed and runs the Community
Channel, the UK's first charity TV channel, broadcasting free-to-view
on Sky digital 684 and web at www.communitychannel.org
The Media Trust is a member of the Public Voice
coalition, and supports the written evidence to the committee
submitted by Public Voice.
The Media Trust's particular concerns are summarised
below. We look forward to the opportunity to expand on this evidence
at an oral session:
1. THE PROPOSED
1.1 OFCOM should have a clear remit to protect,
foster and enhance active citizenship, community cohesion and
democratic participation. Its work should balance this requirement
with any imperative to facilitate the growth of the market and
the needs of consumers.
1.2 OFCOM should be in a position to resource
and "seed-fund" innovative forms of not-for-profit public
service media and other services, at national, regional and local
1.3 Any fines collected by OFCOM, including
those from the BBC, should contribute to a dedicated fund for
1.4 OFCOM should have to reserve spectrum
for the above services, encouraging and enabling new public service
offerings, at national, regional and local levels, similar to
the development of Channel 4 and S4C. The Media Trust endorses
the recommendation in Professor Cave's Review of Radio Spectrum
Management that spectrum could be released to this effect (paragraph.
1.5 OFCOM should have the power to add to
the current "must-carry" provision, given the potential
of new public service offerings.
1.6 The Media Trust endorses the Bill's
proposal to strengthen and promote media literacy, and welcomes
OFCOM's potential role as a funder and catalyst for this work.
It should be noted that the voluntary and community sector already
plays a vital role in this area, as well as in media training,
and should be used to deliver and target this provision to those
most in need.
2. THE PROPOSED
2.1 A dynamic and competitive market must
not threaten the UK's unique tradition of public service media.
2.2 The Bill should safeguard, through regulation,
and through resources, the strengthening of our public service
3. THE PLACE
3.1 It is essential that the UK's diverse
communities, whether geographically based or "communities
of interest", are represented across all our media, and given
opportunities to build their own media outlets.
3.2 The promotion of media literacy and
industry training opportunities to as diverse a range of communities
and localities is crucial in protecting these interests.
3.3 Minority outlets, at a local or national
level, act as a catalyst for mainstream content that reflects
their views and voices, and act as a vital training ground for
those less-well represented in mainstream media.
3.4 The Bill should safeguard existing minority
media, and make provision for the allocation of resources and
spectrum to develop additional services.
4. THE BALANCE
4.1 Remembering the positive effects of
Channel 4 on the other 3 public service channels, the Bill should
make provision for new public service offerings, at national,
regional and local levels, as detailed above.