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29/03/2001

INDUSTRY REGULATORS AGREE ON CLOSER CO-OPERATION

THE FIVE communications regulators have announced an agreement to extend co-operation in line with the Government’s Communications White Paper on regulation.
A new Memorandum of Understanding between the Broadcasting Standards Commission, Independent Television Commission, Office of Telecommunications, Radio Authority and Radiocommunications Agency, sets out the arrangements for working closely together on a wide range of issues.
A steering group of the Chief Executives, which will meet regularly, has been formed to oversee this work. The new approach will involve sharing information, meeting and networking between the bodies, and, where there are common interests, policy issues will be developed together.
Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport said: “I welcome this initiative taken by the regulators to meet the challenges set out in the Government’s White Paper. We are aiming for joined-up regulation for a new world of communication. Getting the regulatory bodies themselves to identify some of the ways ahead, and work together to achieve it, will be a valuable contribution to a more flexible, but effective, regime.”
Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, said: “I congratulate the five organisations for taking this vital first step towards the creation of a new converged regulator as set out in the Government's Communications White Paper. Working more closely together in this way will help provide greater consistency and certainty for business. The pace of change which is bringing about convergence in the broadcasting and telecommunications industries makes the introduction of the new, flexible regulatory framework so necessary.”
The regulatory organisations will meet to facilitate greater collaboration on matters of common concern, including areas such as digital switch-over, competition in relevant markets, development of internet and e-commerce, audience research, elaboration of content codes, complaint handling and Human Rights Act issues.
Also, wherever possible, common positions will be developed in briefings for representation at international meetings dealing with spectrum, the European Directives and content issues. (AMcE)
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