Debates between Lord Watts and Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row during the 2019-2024 Parliament

Thu 23rd May 2024
Media Bill
Lords Chamber

Report stage & 3rd reading

Media Bill

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row
Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, I support Amendment 9 because the quality of news in total has deteriorated over the last few years, and we definitely need more regulation to deal with this.

As far as local TV is concerned, there is a suggestion that it should be put under Ofcom and monitored. In Liverpool, for example, we have a local TV service, but most of the time it is not local at all. It is GM News. Anyone who knows Liverpool knows that it is probably one of the most left-wing cities in the country. To have thrust on it GM News as the major contributor to local TV is very strange indeed. You need some understanding that there needs to be far more local content than there has been in the past and it needs to be regulated.

I have a problem with Ofcom because even if we put it under Ofcom, as the amendment suggests, Ofcom has failed to do its duty on a number of occasions. It is still allowing GM News to put out propaganda, to allow one Tory MP to interview another Tory MP, and we see no action on this.

Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row Portrait Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row (Con)
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Does the noble Lord mean GB News? He keeps saying GM News.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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Correct: GB News. It allows one Tory MP to interview another Tory MP, which is against the rules, as everyone knows, and yet Ofcom sits on the fence because it does not want to take action. It is not surprising because we are dominated by the Conservatives; the chairman and director-general of the BBC are both Tories; the chairman of Ofcom is a Tory; we are overrun by Tories in every area of the media, and we need to address this because there is no balance. This means that people do not stick to the rules that Parliament has laid down. Ofcom has a lot more to answer for and it needs to address some of the shortfalls that it has now if it is going to take on more responsibility.