Nicolotti Squires has been named group director for broadcasting and media on Ofcom’s senior management team.
Ofcom said this means she will lead its work in regulating the TV, radio and on-demand industries, including through setting and upholding on-air standards.
Nicolotti Squires said: “We’ve never had so much choice of where and how to get our entertainment and information, and never has it been so important to ensure fairness and accuracy while embracing the fundamental principle of free speech.”
The broadcast regulator will soon make a decision on 12 ongoing investigations into GB News, several of which centre on due impartiality and its use of sitting MPs as presenters as well as one on the rant about a female journalist that saw Laurence Fox fired and Dan Wootton suspended last month.
Ofcom is also likely to gain greater powers to regulate Netflix and other streaming services under the Media Bill, as well as more online TV channels, plus social media under the recently-passed Online Safety Bill.
Nicolotti Squires joined Sky News in 2016 after spending 22 years at ITN, latterly as editor of 5 News for three years. Her other roles included head of output, head of home news, national news editor, and lunchtime news editor for ITV News.
She dismissed the idea of a growth in news avoidance in an interview with Press Gazette at the start of this year, saying: “The news exploded last year and so did our audiences, so I’m not really sure about news avoidance. When big stuff happens, people want to find out about it. They may say they want to shy away from it, but I’ve not seen that from my own experience.”
Sky News won the News Provider of the Year prize at Press Gazette’s British Journalism Awards 2022.
Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes said: “Cristina’s significant broadcasting experience will be a major asset to Ofcom. I’m very much looking forward to working with her.”
Nicolotti Squires succeeds Kevin Bakhurst, who left in April to return to his previous employer Irish broadcaster RTE as director general. He had been Ofcom’s group director for broadcasting and online content since 2016.
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