Letter: Diversity and bias at Channel 5

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Sir: Regarding the concentration of ownership in the British media, in a democratic society, it is essential that the Government ensures a balance between the ownership of terrestrial and satellite television, and the newspapers. Rupert Murdoch may not be politically ambitious like Silvio Berlusconi, but he will try to influence the election results to protect his business interests. It is unacceptable that he should be 20 per cent of a consortium bidding for Channel 5, without divesting himself of some of his other media interests.

Stephen Dorrell, the Heritage Secretary, should establish the rules of the game before selling Channel 5. If a Parliament stuffed with lawyers can't legislate on cross-media ownership after five years, then what can they do? Perhaps they should look at the rules in Europe?

The importance of the media to a tolerant, balanced and harmonious society should not be under-estimated. It is a jewel to be preserved, not sold to the highest bidder.

Yours sincerely,

JANET SALMON

London, W13

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