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13/11/2002

Queen's speech confirms Communication Bill

The new Communications Bill is expected to be unveiled soon.
The government have confirmed, through the Queen's speech, that the bill will be introduced in this parliamentary session.
The speech, part of the traditional opening of parliament, outlined how: "Legislation will be brought forward to reform the broadcasting and telecommunications industry by promoting competition and investment and giving powers to the Office of Communications."
The Government hopes to push the bill though by this time next year, although Lord Puttnam, who chaired the joint scrutiny committee looking into the proposed bill, has warned that it could get tied up in a Commons and Lords revolt if the Government refuses to budge on its plan to allow non-EU companies to acquire British broadcasters.
Tomorrow afternoon culture secretary Tessa Jowell is due to appear at the Westminster Media Forum to make a speech in which she is expected to outline the planned timescale of the bill's introduction and confirm its contents.
The creation of Ofcom, the new super-regulator set to replace the existing five watchdogs for the media and telecoms industries, will also be ratified by the bill.
(GB)
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