The UK government is to publish a consultation paper next month to canvass opinion on how best to regulate cross-media ownership, culture secretary Tessa Jowell has announced.

The consultation paper will inform the government's forthcoming Communications Bill, due to be published next year.

According to Jowell, who plans to be as "deregulatory as possible", the key to media regulation in the UK is balancing limits on media ownership with the economic health of the media sector.

"We have two aims," said Jowell. "We need to uphold the interests of our citizens. They must continue to receive a diversity of content from their media. They must also continue to receive that diversity from a plurality of sources. But we also want to encourage competition and to make Britain home to the most dynamic and competitive media market in the world. So we will try to be as deregulatory as possible, and intend to allow what market consolidation we can."

"It is as important to preserve the responsibility of the media, and its independence, as it is to build a competitive market."