Damian and SallyWith best wishes for the new year from Damian Tambini and Sally Broughton Micova and the rest of the LSE Media Policy Project team.    

The past year has been a busy one for the LSE Media Policy Project and a contentious one in media policy. We covered the aftermath of the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics, which has been playing out in battles over different versions of a Royal Charter and what form a new press self-regulator will take. Although the Privy Council approved the version agreed in cross party talks, many of the major newspapers proceeded with their own version and this game will continue play well into 2014.

Other headliners

Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance of the internet kicked off a maelstrom of international reaction at the level of national governments and within privacy, freedom of expression and internet governance circles. It was a core issue in the Internet Governance Series we ran in the Autumn, that discussed the moves by some countries to gain more control over infrastructure and traffic and posed serious questions about the future of the global internet governance institutions.

This story is just beginning as courts in the US and Europe will be dealing with resulting cases, including one brought to the European Court of Human Rights against the NSA by a coalition of civil society groups and others.

All of this was happening as the European Commission was working on a new Telecoms package entitled Connected Continent that inspired much debate about net neutrality, and on a revision to the Data Protection Directive, which perhaps got a bit more attention than it would have since people are now thinking more about who is looking at their data.

Also in the headlines were porn and child protection, as Culture Secretary Maria Miller called on internet companies to do more and PM David Cameron promised better ways for parents to control what their children see. Finding ways to protecting children online while not inhibiting expression will continue to challenge policy makers and as many have argued on this blog the media literacy of parents, children and others remains a crucial step.

Communications in the UK and media plurality

The outcome of the UK’s Communications Review and the issue of media plurality did not generate many headlines, but we tried to keep them your radar screens and encourage debate. In the midst of the surprisingly warm summer, the Government released its strategy document Connectivity, Content and Consumers. We flagged up its major points then and will continue to encourage debate on spectrum management and broadband rollout, PSB prominence, nuisance calls and the other policy questions covered by the strategy.

The release of this strategy document came with a consultation on media ownership and plurality measurement by DCMS and the Lords Select Committee shortly after launched its own inquiry on the issue. Media plurality has attracted far less public attention than press ethic and replacing the PCC, but is arguably more important in the long term if media are to continue to serve public as well as commercial interests. We closed the year with a special series on media plurality assembled together with our colleagues at the newly launched Media Power and Plurality project at the University of Westminster.

Thanks to our contributors

Of course many other topics, questions and policy challenges were covered by our various authors over the year as well  – far too many to mention here. We would like to thank all those who have contributed, especially our dedicated interns and project assistants, and look forward to working with you again in 2014.  We wish you happy holidays and all the best in the new year.

The LSE MPP blog will be taking a break from now for the holidays and starting up again after 2 January, 2014. This blog post gives the views of the authors, and does not represent the position of the LSE Media Policy Project blog, nor of the London School of Economics.