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Television PolicyThe MacTaggart Lectures$
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Bob Franklin

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617173

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617173.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 28 February 2021

The Day after Tomorrow: The Future of Electronic Publishing

The Day after Tomorrow: The Future of Electronic Publishing

The James MacTaggart Lecture 1981

(p.79) The Day after Tomorrow: The Future of Electronic Publishing
Television Policy

Peter Jay

Edinburgh University Press

In this lecture, the author, a journalist and a former British ambassador to America in Washington, criticises the current overregulation of broadcasting in Britain and outlines a possible future organisation for what he prefers to describe as ‘electronic publishing’. His assumption is that the problem of ‘spectrum scarcity’, which provided the original rationale for regulation, has been overcome. He argues that ‘within less than two decades, we will inhabit a world in which there will be no technically based grounds for government interference in electronic publishing’. The author sets out his vision of a future form of electronic publishing which he believes will encapsulate and reflect in its structures, the principles of consumer choice, sovereignty, and freedom. It requires no regulatory laws other than the general provisions for libel, copyright, and obscenity, which already govern publishing. The BBC would continue as a major publisher but would lose its ‘self-regulatory powers’. The author suggests that even this ‘extremely compressed view of a future market in electronic publishing’ illustrates that there is ‘nothing God-given or immutable about the familiar duopolistic regime’.

Keywords:   broadcasting, Britain, regulation, electronic publishing, spectrum scarcity, BBC, consumer choice, libel, copyright, obscenity

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