Dec 3 2012

LSE Media Policy Project on the editorial reaction to Leveson

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The first analysis of the editorial take on the Leveson report carried out by the MPP reveals the uneasy blend of general support that the newspapers showed of the issues raised in the report with the overall rejection of the “statutory underpinning” principle as threatening the freedom of the press at the core.

Posted by: Posted on by Alexandra Kulikova

Nov 30 2012

After Leveson: watch our debate hosted by Channel 4 News

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Channel 4 News and the London School of Economics Media Policy Project  teamed up in an online Google+ HangoutHangout with LSE MPP & Channel 4 News  to get reaction and analysis on what this means for the future of the British media.

Click here to go the a recording of the 30 minute discussion which include Hugh åTomlinson QC, Martin Moore (Media Standards Trust), Neil Wallis (ex News of the World), Dr Damian Tambini (LSE), Charlie Beckett (Polis, LSE), and Lara Fielden (RISJ)

Damion Tambini: the role of Ofcom is to check that the system is working properly, the report suggests it can be a regulator of the regulator leaving open the option of introducing another agent for this role.

Charlie Beckett: the continental style media with a lot of statutory control is not desirable.

Hugh Tomlinson: the report suggests that the news system will allow to bring up a complaint a costless way through an independent body.

Lara Fielden: Leveson hasn’t mention any size threshold for media organisations to join the news regulatory system, which leaves it platform-neutral.

Charlie Becket: the internet will change the nature of this debate over time. the challenge for the press will be to show it can maintain the quality brand against the background of the online permissiveness.

Posted by: Posted on by Alexandra Kulikova

Nov 29 2012

Post Publication Reaction

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The Leveson report is now out and has backed statutory underpinning for an independent regulator. It has rejected the newspaper industry’s own proposals. So now the political process begins.

The Daily Express steps in with a “declaration of independence” on the freedom of the press applauding to Leveson for the PPC criticism but warning him against entering “very dangerous territory indeed” in his recommendation on a legislative eye on the press self-regulation.

The Guardian editorial on Leveson broadly welcomes the report and the Independent regulator with the assurances on public interest and legal costs – but it points out the political difficulties of getting legislation through and warns of ‘mission creep’ on the statutory backstop regulator, Ofcom.

The Telegraph says it supports the outline of an Independent regulator but without the statutory sanctions.

The Daily Mail says that Leveson is ‘playing with words’ and that statutory ‘underpinning’ is the same as bringing in a press law that could be used to restrict the newspapers. It says that the punishment for failing to join the ‘independent’ regulator would be pernicious.

Leveson has cast scarce light on the issue of media ownership, says Harold Evans, which comes as one of the biggest disappointments of the report.

The man who started this all (arguably) with his phone-hacking investigation, Nick Davies, says that he has no problem with Leveson’s report.

Steve Richards of the Independent argues that Leveson has got the balance right but that Cameron is running a political risk in trying to juggle his libertarian instincts and the desire to reform the press.

Fraser Nelson of the Spectator takes to the Telegraph to hail David Cameron for taking an historic stand that might preserve the press from government control – a freedom enjoyed since 1695, he says.

Rafael Behr of the Statesman defends Ed Miliband’s stance in favour of statutory regulation, but says that the whole process is like sorting out ‘a museum’.

In a detailed article the Financial Times declares that it has ‘reservations’ about Leveson’s plan for an independent regulator.

The Independent’s John Rentoul says that Leveson contradicts himself – he says it’s not state regulation but it is regulation by statute.

As Gary Gibbon points out, Leveson has made it tough for David Cameron to reject statutory regulation

LSE’s Damian Tambini argues that the most important part of the report is how it deals with the ‘Desmond’ problem. How do you incentivise papers to be part of a regulatory body. Is this statutory or not?

The New York Times opposes Leveson and says that all you need is criminal law to limit press freedom.


[If you are interested in the instant reactions of Polis director Charlie Beckett check out his tweets at @CharlieBeckett]

Posted by: Posted on by Charlie Beckett

Nov 28 2012

What do we want of Leveson report?

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FT  brings up the personal side of Sir Brian – “a private man” he is no more.

Right now BBC is recapping interview evidence given during the inquiry in the run up to Lord Leveson’s statement.

With hour to go before the Leveson report is published, a number of selected witnesses and stakeholders make their final speech to the case and voice their expectations. Cameron and Clegg already in deliberations over the report, the opinions are no closer to unanimity.

How relevant is the Leveson report on the press in the 21st century? Emily Bell of The Guardian argues that in the internet age “to regulate the press further, without having a broader definition of who “the press” might be” is futile.

Charlie Beckett sort of disagrees with Emily Bell and says that Leveson and newspapers do still matter – this is an historic moment for the industry.

John Gapper of the FT argues that we need a bit of statute – a law that defines and protects the idea of ‘public interest’.

Posted by: Posted on by Alexandra Kulikova Tagged with: , ,

Nov 28 2012

A look back to 19th Century thoughts on British Free Press & The Law.

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Between 1801 and 1894 a little newspaper in the North of England ran this motto underneath it’s title.

A Free Press, Without Licentiousness, Is The Best Palladium Of British Liberty

 (The Lancaster Gazette 1801-1894)

Strong sentiment from a regional newspaper which ran for almost a hundred years, and motto of the sort which is difficult to find today.  We took a look in the archives for some of the discussions around the Free Press happening in our newspapers. Some of the arguments and language used may sound familiar. Continue reading

Posted by: Posted on by Gideon Reid Tagged with:

Nov 28 2012

International perspectives on Leveson – what the non-UK media says

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Canada’s Globe and Mail claims the British press and its foes are ‘terrified’ over the outcome of Lord Leveson’s Report.

The New Zealand Herald documents the ‘judgment day’ that awaits the British press.

The Hollywood Reporter focuses on the implications the Leveson Report will have on the relationship between the media and celebrities.  Hugh Grant, J.K. Rowling and Charlotte Church have been vocal proponents of press regulations.

Germany’s Deutsche Walle warns that the British press is facing the perfect storm. Continue reading

Posted by: Posted on by Charlie Beckett Tagged with: , , , ,

Nov 28 2012

Talk about burying the lede…

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Can’t wait for Thursday’s release of the full report?

Take a trip to your local video store…for a reminder that the problems of journalistic corruption have been with us for many many years, here’s an excellently staged parable of the sticky messes that the urge to go to press with the biggest scoop can get you into. Staring Kirk Douglas no less.

Apparently its based on a true story. Continue reading

Posted by: Posted on by Gideon Reid

Nov 27 2012

Some deeper background articles on regulation

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A lengthy report by Nigel Smith from the IPPR about the need for platform-neutral regulations for press outlets in light of new media trends.

Paul Jones, from the University of New South Wales writes in the October 2012 issue of Pacific Journalism Review“The moment of Leveson: Beyond First amendment fundamentalism in news regulatory policies”

Stephen Coleman, from the University of Leeds writes in the 2012 issue of Television and New Media,“It’s Time for the Public to Reclaim to the Public Interest.”

Posted by: Posted on by Charlie Beckett

Nov 27 2012

Policy briefs from the LSE Media Policy Project.

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LSE MPP announces its plan to monitor the first 48 hours of Leveson coverage in the UK press. Damion Tambini asks: “Will they report Leveson fairly, or will they will use their power to turn public opinion against the report or its author?”

A report from the The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society authored by Damian Tambini on the controversy arising from the terms ‘freedom of expression’ and ‘freedom of the press’ being used interchangeably.

A report from the Foundation for Law Justice and Society authored by George Brock that looks at the bargain that must be struck and potential for both statutory and self-regulation. Continue reading

Posted by: Posted on by Gideon Reid

Nov 27 2012

Other background articles – law, economics etc

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A handbook on Council of Europe standards on media’s contribution to social cohesion, intercultural dialogue, understanding, tolerance and democratic participation.

An article by Ivor Gaber, City University, in May 2012 issue of Media Culture Society  on Murdoch and issues of ownership and press regulation.

A lengthy report by Nigel Smith from the IPPR about the need for platform-neutral regulations for press outlets in light of new media trends.

Martin Belam argues that while the PCC is discredited and that newspapers need new regulatory mechanisms, the real threat to newspapers is economic not legal.


Posted by: Posted on by Charlie Beckett