The Day after Tomorrow: The Future of Electronic Publishing

Peter Jay

in Television Policy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748617173
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671113 | DOI:
The Day after Tomorrow: The Future of Electronic Publishing

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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

Chapter.  3594 words. 

Subjects: Television

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