Headlines: May 19th, 2000

The fast-changing pace of communications technology has encouraged the Government to seek the advice of top telecommunications and broadcasting experts to ensure new legislation is appropriate.The experts are to help stimulate discussion on regulation, public service broadcasting and other key issues to be considered in the Government’s White Paper on communications reform.

Among the experts whose wisdom is sought are the former MD of Network Radio for the BBC, Liz Forgan, plus the BBC’s former head of strategy Mark Oliver.

Contributions are also being sought from Sir Quentin Thomas who has only recently retired from a senior career in the civil service, which included being for a time Head of Broadcasting at the Home Office, and from Dr Damian Tambini, Senior Research Fellow at the IPPR, and media policy expert at the London School of Economics.

Culture Secretary Chris Smith and Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byershave asked the experts to write individual discussion papers, putting forward their own innovative ideas on key policy areas. The papers will be considered at a seminar in July and published on the Internet.

Topics will include the future of public service broadcasting, equality of access to the media, content and regulation.

The Government’s objective is to create a dynamic market environment for Britain’s broadcasting and telecommunications industry, in which all

consumers can access a range of high quality services.Anyone can join the experts, by submitting their thoughts to a special e-mail address –
consultation@communicationswhitepaper.gov.uk by 23 June.

Further information on the Communications Reform White Paper is on the internet at http://www.communicationswhitepaper.gov.