On the Relationship Between Media Plurality Legislation and Competition Law (2)

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Martin Cave, Dec 31, 2014

Recent events in the United Kingdom, including the furor surrounding the newspaper “phone hacking” scandal which led to the Leveson report, have focused attention on possible new legislation concerning media plurality. These events follow an inquiry in the European Union that is longer lasting but less likely to bear legislative fruit. Broad questions are raised in these debates, but the focus here is upon the relationship between legal provisions for media plurality and competition law and, in particular, upon such questions as:

  • To what degree does competition law include consideration of media plurality issues?
  • To what degree can competition law be expected to promote the goals of media plurality?
  • Are measurement approaches used in competition law likely to be of help in measuring plurality?
  • To what degree are there similarities between remedies applicable under competition law and remedies applicable under actual or prospective plurality legislation?
  • Does the process by which competition law has been enacted and grown to maturity have any lessons for a similar development in the area of the case of media plurality?

Although some of these questions are of general application, others can only be answered within the context of a particular country’s legal system. In the present article, that country is chosen as the United Kingdom.