Newly announced Ofcom chairman Lord Michael Grade has admitted he doesn’t use social media but said he understood “the dynamics”.
The 79-year-old Conservative colleague, who has held senior positions at all three of Britain’s major media outlets, appeared before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee on Thursday for pre-appointment consideration after being named the government’s preferred candidate for the post.
Such hearings are held to allow selected committees to review the quality of ministerial appointments and assess the candidate’s suitability for the role, knowledge and experience.
The media executive was grilled on topics including the selection process for his role, online safety and the regulation of tech giants.
However, he admitted that he doesn’t use Facebook, Instagram or TikTok, although he has WhatsApp to communicate with his family.
The SNP’s John Nicolson challenged him over an apparent “lack of engagement in such an important part of contemporary life” and suggested that this would “prove problematic” as his new role required such understanding.
Lord Grade replied: “I wouldn’t say I have no experience at all. I have three children. I have a 23-year-old college son who never leaves his screen.”
He then added to the committee, “I understand the dynamic.”
“Importantly, as Chairs of Ofcom, we cannot be experts on every aspect of the area that Ofcom has to patrol.
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“What we need to do is make sure we have access to the best minds we can hire and the best advisors and expertise we can find to make sure we’re good for what’s going on in those sectors.” going on, be prepared.”
I have referred to the royalty as regressive. I didn’t take that as an opinion but as a statement of factMr Degree
Lord Grade said that at the end of his three years in the position he hopes “people can see that we are giving good effect to what Parliament has given us and technology companies are taking us very seriously and are starting to pick up understand – it will not happen overnight – this lip service to responsibility is no longer acceptable”.
Speaking about abandonment culture and the debate over so-called woke TV and radio programmes, Lord Grade said he “admires” Laurence Fox, the actor-turned-political activist.
He said: “I admire his courage. I knew his family. His grandfather and my father were longtime business partners.
“I admire his courage to speak out and contribute to the debate. I don’t necessarily agree with what he says, but I admire that he speaks up.”
Lord Grade has previously advocated the privatization of Channel 4 and recently criticized the BBC’s coverage of events such as the Downing Street parties as “malicious and disrespectful”.
He defended his comments, telling the committee, “I have called the royalty regressive. I didn’t take that as an opinion but as a statement of fact.”
Referring to Channel 4 and whether it should be privatised, he added: “As for Channel 4, that’s my opinion. I fought privatization twice as chief executive of Channel 4 – once with Mrs Thatcher and once with John Major.
“I would say the world has changed. Back then there were only four channels and BSB and Sky were broke, so it was a whole different world.”
During his career, Lord has been the Grade Controller of BBC One, Chief Executive of Channel 4, Chairman of the BBC and Executive Chairman of ITV.
He currently sits as a Conservative peer in the House of Lords, having been appointed by David Cameron in 2011.
If confirmed as Ofcom chairman, he will move to the cross-banks and relinquish any non-executive roles that could create a conflict of interest.
He was named for the position after a lengthy recruitment process branded by Labor as “messy and frankly embarrassing”.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/new-ofcom-chief-lord-grade-admits-he-does-not-use-social-media-41506835.html New Ofcom boss Lord Grade admits he doesn’t use social media