Puttnam devises alternative plan

World Brief

Filmmaker David Puttnam, who opposes relaxing U.K. media ownership rules, proposed Tuesday night a “public interest” amendment to the Communications Bill.

Currently, the bill allows non-EU companies to buy commercial broadcasters ITV or Five and lifts the ban on newspaper proprietors owning channels. That would open the market to Rupert Murdoch’s News Intl., which owns four U.K. newspapers.

Under the Puttnam plan, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell could refer controversial takeover plans to new super regulator Ofcom and to the office of fair trading.

The House of Lords, the government’s upper chamber, is expected to vote on the key issues of the bill before the end of June.

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