LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) - Britain’s media regulator Ofcom has proposed relaxing the rules around ownership of local media to support small groups hit by the advertising downturn and competition from the Internet.
All media groups have suffered during the economic downturn but Ofcom said the pressures were most acute in the local media sector.
Under the new proposals, all local commercial radio stations could be owned by one operator in a local area, alongside the local radio service from the BBC.
Ofcom is also looking at changes to allow some regional stations to share programming in return for making the services available on digital radio.
The regulator could also liberalise the local cross media ownership rules between local newspapers, local radio station and the regional television, however the ownership of all three in one area would still be prevented.
Ofcom will now consult on the proposals before sending their recommendations to the secretary of state in November. (Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Hans Peters)