Letter: Lib Dems fight Murdoch hegemony

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The Independent Online
Sir: Polly Toynbee (article, 4 November) and Angela Eagle (letter, 6 November) have drawn attention to the importance of a single digital set-top box. At the Commons committee stage of the recent Broadcasting Bill, Robert Maclennan and Roger Gale tabled an amendment intended to ensure that all digital set-top boxes would be compatible. The Minister promised to return at the report stage with proposals to bring about a common set-top box.

At the report stage the Government, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all tabled amendments to allow the public to purchase a single set-top box. The Liberal Democrat amendment differed in that it avoided the potential pitfall that market dominance might be achieved before a common standard was agreed. BSkyB now looks set to attain that dominance.

It is hard to avoid the suspicion that fear of the Murdoch media empire lies at the heart of both the Government's and Labour's reluctance to take a strong stand on this issue. The Liberal Democrats will continue to press for a common set-top box.

Lord McNALLY

Lord THOMSON OF MONIFIETH

Liberal Democrat Broadcasting Spokesmen

House of Lords

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