Paul Dacre is the former Daily Mail editor and has decided to withdraw from the race for Ofcom’s next chair.
He wrote to The Times to say that he would not reapply after the rejection of his original application by the recruitment panel.
Following the failure to find a suitable candidate at the initial interview, this process is now being re-run.
Dacre explained that he decided instead to pursue an “exciting, new job” within the private sector.
Ofcom holds broad-based powers on television, radio, telecoms, and postal services. They also deal with complaints, licensing, and many other things.
As part of the draft legislation on online safety, it will be given new power to regulate social media sites.
- The Ofcom chair selection process will be restarted
- Paul Dacre and Ofcom: How are things?
- Paul Dacre will step down as Mail editor
Dacre (73), who quit the Daily Mail after more than 25 years as editor in 2018, was seen by Downing Street as the favourite candidate for the Ofcom job.
The Times reported that he described the experience of applying to for the job as “infelicitous” and “a dalliance with” “the Blob”, a term often used to mean the Whitehall establishment.
A journalist well-known for his conservative views was also quoted as saying that his “strong convictions” led him to be deemed “unappointable”.
Ofcom will face an “awesome task” trying to regulate tech titans that are “omnipotent”, ruthless, and moral ” without compromising freedom of speech.
He said that he would “die a ditch to defend” the BBC, but that it had to be saved from “both itself and frighteningly wealthy streaming giants”.
A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said the recruitment process for Ofcom chair was “fair and open”.
The commissioner for public nominations is charged with ensuring the appointment conforms to strict guidelines.
“Perceived lack impartiality”
A group of ministers from Wales and Scotland have asked Nadine Dorries to include them in the selection process for a new chair of Ofcom.
Ministers expressed concern about the perceived lack of transparency and impartiality in the process.
Ministers stated that the inclusion of the devolved governments would maintain “credibility”.
Two-page document signed by Angus Robertson and Kate Forbes. They were also the finance and economic secretary for Scotland.
Ministers expressed concern that this prolonged process could “adversely affect the status of the public broadcasting system, whose duty it is to serve all nations.”
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