On 25 November 2010 Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science Ank Bijleveld announced that the government will abolish the Temporary Law on Media Concentration as on 1 January 2011.
In doing so Mrs Bijleveld follows a Resolution from the Parliament that called on the former Government to either abolish the law or to increase the maximum allowed concentration from 35% to 50% of market share. Without action the law would have expired on 1 January 2012.
The Minister explained her decision by saying that the Dutch Competition Authority NMA already assures that media mergers will not lead to unreasonable price increases. In case of any merger or acquisition concerning newspapers the Competition Authority will still keep scrutiny to ensure that sufficient consumer choice remains after concentration.
This scrutiny on the basis of regular market regulation will sufficiently guard against the creation of a too strong position of one market player and therefore maintain the preservation of a pluralistic media landscape. The Temporary Law on Media Concentration bore the risk of impeding the multimedia development of especially newspapers and this should obviously not the be its intention or effect. It would also have put into risk the existence of small regional papers that need a take-over in order to stay alive.
After active lobbying for the abolition of the law the Dutch Association of Newspapers Publishers (NDP) warmly welcomed the decision of the Governement.
Source: ENPA E-Weekly Review 15.12.2010
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