Papers Need Law Change to Buy Radio Station

A consultation launched after a request to CoMin by Isle of Man Newspapers is asking residents for their opinion on proposed changes to the island’s broadcasting laws.

The company, owned by UK based Tindle Newspapers Group, wants to see the Broadcasting Act 1993 amended so it can go ahead with its planned acquisition of a local radio station, believed to be 3FM.

In the consultation, respondents are asked for their opinion on amending the legislation that restricts newspapers from holding more than 20% in a licensed broadcaster (a radio station).

The gov’s Consultation Hub says of the survey: ‘Isle of Man Newspapers has requested that Council considers making the proposed change to the current legislation arguing that the status quo could be considered out of date and that the proposed change would allow for consolidation in the media sector. It is further argued that such consolidations would help ensure the future sustainability of the sector. Council of Ministers acknowledges these points, but is of the view that there are likely to be a range of views in respect of the proposed changes, it therefore welcomes the views of all interested parties in this regard.

‘As it stands, the acquisition is not permitted due to statutory restrictions placed on newspapers holding more than a 20% interest in a licensed sound broadcaster within the Broadcasting Act 1993. The Council of Ministers has been requested to consider changing the legislation, by Order, to effectively remove this constraint. This would have the effect of allowing for the acquisition of radio stations by newspapers (something that Isle of Man Newspapers has indicated it would have a potential interest in) and vice versa. The purpose of this consultation is therefore to assess whether it would be appropriate to amend the relevant legislation.’

The consultation can be found here.

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