Latest Blog Entries

Racial diversity

The lovely thing about computers is that they have search facilities when it comes to scouring key words in documents. When you put ‘diversity’ into Ofcom’s Annual Plan 2014-15 it makes five references in its thousands of words.

All of them are rather anodyne, giving the impression to those of us passionate about diversity that it really is not at the heart of this regulator’s thinking, even though it is. Take, for example:

The eye has been taken off the racial diversity ball
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OFCOM NEWS

Ofcom has published its 2014/15 Annual Plan, confirming its strategy and work programme for the next financial year. This work is designed to build on some significant developments in the UK’s communications infrastructure.

Network rollout

OFCOM NEWS
Lenny Henry

Barnie Choudhury, my colleague on the Advisory Committee for England (ACE), brought my attention to Lenny Henry’s BAFTA speech, which is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OQDDYgh5Jk

Yes, says Lenny Henry
Advice

A colleague on one of our advisory boards thought we should find a more appropriate name for Advice to Ofcom.

From her perspective, the blog is not focused on giving advice to Ofcom, but on communicating with the public about issues being considered by the advisory committees to Ofcom. She thought we could better and more accurately title the site.

She is right, of course, so I’d encourage colleagues to suggest a better name for the blog site. Thinking back to its recent origins, we took several points in mind in arriving at Advice to Ofcom.

Ideas welcome
Braveheart

In the nations, how to deal with questions of small scale are especially important in television production and that is why out of London quotas have proved to be key to at least some decentralisation.

The same issues arise for film production, distribution and consumption. As Scotland approaches its independence referendum this September, there have been the first stirrings of debate about film policy.

Philip Schlesinger, chair of the Advisory Committee for Scotland, has been a protagonist in the discussion and here reflects on current debate.

Creative Scotland’s role in film policy is not widely regarded as successful
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The Scottish government published further details this week (18th February) about its plans for culture and broadcasting in an independent Scotland (Scotland’s Future: Culture and Broadcasting).

Scottish Broadcasting Service proposed
Royal Mail postbox

I think the Institute of Directors is the best business organisation in the whole world.

Perhaps I’m partial as I chair the Scottish bit. In that role,  I asked a question of Alex Salmond at the launch of the voluminous Referendum White Paper.

Universal Service Obligation

Plenty of questions still unanswered....
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Ofcom today (20thFeb) announced its decision to renew the licences for Channel 3 and 5 for a further 10-year period starting on the first of January 2015.

For Channel 3 this means ITV for England and Wales, STV in Scotland and UTV in Northern Ireland.

There is one change in the geographical areas for which the licence will be issued. On renewal, Ofcom will create a separate licence for Wales for the first time. This means that Wales is separated from England and a new west and south west of England licence will be created.

Recognises the reality of a devolved Wales
Welsh face

Russell George (@russ_george) was elected as the Welsh Conservative AM for Montgomeryshire in 2011. He owns a retail business in Newtown town centre. He was elected to Powys County Council in 2008. He is the chair of the Assembly’s Cross Party Group for Digital Communication and Shadow Minister for Agriculture & Natural Resources.

Heightened political interest in communications issues
Scottish newspapers

Along with my colleague Dr Alex Benchimol, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Glasgow, I’ve been looking at the challenges the Scottish Press is facing, from adapting to a digital age to maintaining a distinct Scottish identity.

Can print journalism adapt to the digital revolution