RTS CAMBRIDGE. Culture Secretary James Purnell has revealed plans to create a media think tank to advise government on media policy. The group would work in partnership with the business secretary John Hutton and would bring in people from both inside and outside the media.
In his first major speech since taking up the post, Purnell made it clear that it was government, rather than the regulator Ofcom, which had the final say on media policy. Although built up as a super regulator, because of its amalgamation of previous TV, radio and telecoms authorities, Ofcom has drawn criticism from its styling that at times has seemed more like a consultancy than a regulator. However, Purnell seemed to back Ofcom’s stance on the refusal to offer gifted capacity to the public service broadcasters for terrestrial HD capacity from the digital dividend.
It is likely that the think tank’s findings will lead to a new communications act before the 2012 analogue switch off; possibly as early as 2010.