King’s Speech confirms the Media Bill

United Kingdom

The King’s Speech today has confirmed the Government’s commitment to move forward with comprehensive media reform.

The media bill (the first draft of which was published in 29 March 2023) introduces significant reforms to the media ecosystem. In part, these reforms will empower PSBs with greater flexibility in fulfilling their public service remit, enhance the prominence of PSBs’ video-on-demand services, increase regulation on so-called “Tier 1” VOD services, address regulatory burdens affecting commercial radio, and aim to impose radio “must-carry” obligations on the largest voice-activated smart speakers.

While the Government is not required to introduce all of the legislation proposed in the King’s Speech, the inclusion of the draft Media Bill in the Speech is a clear indication that the Conservatives will aim to push through the Bill before the next general election. 

We expect to see a further version of the draft Media Bill shortly and stakeholders will be particularly interested to see if the Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee’s recommendations have been incorporated (for more on this topic see here).

For now though, twenty years after the passing of the Communications Act 2003, the UK appears to be a step (or two) closer to having new significant media legislation.

Article co-authored by Bronagh Miller, Trainee Solicitor at CMS.