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Public Interest Test
Public interest test

One of two significant amendments to the Communication Act 2003, following sustained lobbying by Lord Puttnam, the Voice of the Listener and Viewer (VLV) and other groups, places an obligation on the new regulatory body Ofcom to address viewers as citizens as well as consumers and to further their interests as both citizens and consumers. Putnam's intention in proposing the public interest amendment was to buttress the tradition of public service broadcasting against the consequences of growing competitive and market trends in the broadcasting system. The amendment triggered a major shift in emphasis for Ofcom which was conceived initially as essentially an economic regulator for telecommunications and broadcasting.

The Act expresses this distinction in Part 1, Section 3(1(a) (b)). ‘It shall be ...

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