'UK's Ofcom model difficult to export to Asia'

HONG KONG: Do any industry players love their regulators? The answer, probably, is a big NO.

And, in return, a regulator should not expect love, but should have a relationship with a regulatee that is based on transparency and integrity, amongst other things. Ditto for a vice versa relationship.

This was the message that Kip Meek, senior partner for competition and content at Ofcom in the UK and chairman of the European Regulators’ Group said here today at the ongoing annual convention of Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa).

Speaking at session, aptly titled `How to love your regulator’, Meek also said that the Ofcom model of regulation is difficult to transport to other places; especially Asia. Reason? Ground realities may differ from market to market.

“Is the Ofcom model exportable (to Asia)?” Meek posed a question and answered in the negative.

Detailed regulation should follow on-ground realities, he explained, adding that content regulation in all countries cannot be the same.

For instance, he said, Ofcom is quite liberal in comparison to some other regulators in developed countries as far as content goes.

On cue, a majority of over 70 per cent in the audience voted against common regulatory standards in Asian countries, when asked to after Meek had finished speaking.

According to Meek, the phrase 'light touch of regulation’ may also sound an absurdity though Ofcom in the UK regulates on three principles, which include unbiased and least intrusive regulation.

Meek also opined that a converged regulator is better placed to regulate in the present environment, provided it’s “truly independent and truly unbiased.”

“A fully converged regulatory model does work… but don’t go for harsh measures,” he said.

However, Meek felt there is a possibility of a converged regulator being considered too powerful.

Moral of Meekspeak: a regulator-regulate is not the usual run of the mill tale.

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