Rules on local media ownership could be relaxed to help news providers struggling with the recession, under proposals published by Ofcom.
Current rules prevent one company from owning more than one type of media — newspaper, radio station or TV channel — in a particular area.
Ofcom said that in the interests of maintaining a range of regional news sources, no company should be allowed to own a local paper with more than 50% market share, a radio station and the ITV licence in an area, but a combination of two of these would be acceptable.
The watchdog is to hold a consultation on this proposal and on removing rules on local radio ownership so that one company could run all the commercial stations in a given area. Research showed that listeners were happy for this to happen as long as the BBC continued to provide an alternative source of local news, Ofcom said.