4 June 2015 / By Laura Slattery, Irish Times
Government guidelines designed to protect pluralism have finally been set
In the frenetic, fast-evolving world of media, nothing appears to move more slowly than the laws and regulations that govern it.
Minister for Communications Alex White, due to present final guidelines for the new media merger regulatory regime to the Cabinet, has carried the reform baton on its latest lap. But this is a stop-start marathon that began with the appointment of an advisory group over seven years ago. Oh how media barons must have been sweating all this time.
White recently let slip that a report on the future of RTÉ and another one on competition in the advertising market prompted “robust discussion” around the Cabinet table. So we can surely expect that the media merger guidelines will have generated the same heated debate and that ministers didn’t simply shrug them off as a long way of saying “don’t worry, when we approve Denis O’Brien’s next acquisition, the decision will be totally above board, with references to the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index and everything”.