Jeremy Hunt's political problems have meant that the planned publication of a communications green paper has been put on hold until the culture secretary has given evidence to the Leveson inquiry and dealt with accusations that he favoured News Corporation in its negotiations to buy all of BSkyB.Broadcast takes a similar line, adding it saw the legislation would focus on telecommunications rather than broadcasting.
Those close to Hunt's Department for Culture, Media and Sport say that the communications green paper – which will set out government's initial policy thinking in areas as diverse as internet piracy, public service broadcasting and spectrum allocation – has been largely written but is now unlikely to be published until autumn at the earliest.
One source said that Hunt and the DCMS were distracted by the Murdoch controversy and it would be impossible for the document to be published "until September at the earliest", assuming the culture secretary gives a successful performance before the judge in the coming weeks.
There are also suggestions that the green paper could be shelved completely, with ministers instead moving to publish a white paper that by then would incorporate any relevant recommendations arising from the Leveson inquiry about the future of press regulation.
Legislation is still scheduled for the 2014/15 parliamentary session.