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Ofcom's empire is 'built on sand'

The empire of Ofcom, the regulator of Britain’s telecom companies, ISPs, and broadcasters (except the BBC), is “built on sand and the tide is coming in,” says John Naughton in his Networker column in the Observer.

He points out that someone who wants to set up a radio station now just needs a broadband connection, a microphone and a laptop, and someone who wishes to show the world their video just uploads it to YouTub. He writes:

One of the neatest ironies of the week was that the most memorable video footage to emerge from the Tory party conference was not created or screened by any of the television companies over which Richards [chief executive of Ofcom] now rules. It was a hilarious sequence showing the activities of the media scrum surrounding Boris ‘Four Gaffes’ Johnson as he endeavoured to make his way from the conference hotel to the auditorium.

The video of Johnson was made by Guardian photographer Dan Chung who has been experimenting with video, audio slide shows and panoramic pictures during the party conferences. The Boris video is here and Chung talks about the work he has been doing in his blog.


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  1. Rob Skinner says

    Naughton is right – the media world is changing fast and regulators and legislators are struggling to cope. This isn’t a new phenomenon – the media make fun from time to time of some ancient statute still in force that seems bizare in the modern world.

    On the Boris video, I suspect many viewers will side with the MP. The sight of a media pack in full flow is not pretty, and Johnston’s comment – “Can I ask you in all sincerity if you think you’ve over-egged this?” – will ring true to many. Yes, Johnston is gaffe-prone, and it’s difficult to imagine him holding down a serious ministerial role, but many voters find him endearing in an age of bland, Q&A politics.