Media reform in the UK

Anthony Barnett (Our Kingdom), Sunny Hundal (Liberal Conspiracy), Mark Pack (Lib Dem Voice) & Will Straw (IPPR) write…

July 2011 will be remembered as one of those rare moments where the nation came together in shared outrage and disgust. The hacking of Milly Dowler shocked the country and led to a series of unprecedented events which would have seemed inconceivable just weeks before. The drama culminated in the resignation and arrest of several News International executives and senior police officers; the termination of a 168-year old national newspaper; and the appearance of a humbled Rupert Murdoch before a public hearing.

The various enquiries by Lord Justice Leveson, the Metropolitan police, and the Commons’ culture select committee will take months and possibly years to conclude. But it will then be the business of Parliament to determine how the rules and laws governing the media in our country should change.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Our Kingdom (The British section of openDemocracy), Liberal Conspiracy (the non-aligned website of the left), andLiberal Democrat Voice have come together to start a debate on these critical issues. Over the next four weeks we will look in turn at media plurality, privacy, regulation, and democracy.

This week we ask: How can we secure greater plurality in media ownership? Would greater plurality advance the public interest or not? How could it be achieved? Is a different and better structure of ownership of the print media possible?

From August 15th, we turn to: How can we better protect individual privacy whilst preventing powerful corporate, individual or state interests from inhibiting investigative journalism?

From August 22nd: What is the best way of regulating the press in the broad public interest if we don’t want the state to license or control journalism?

And finally from August 30th: How can we strengthen our democracy to prevent symbiotic concentrations of power in politics, the media and agencies of public authority, such as the police?

If you wish to write a short blog (up to 600 words) on any of these topics, please contact the editors of any of these sites and ask to contribute. You can click on any of these links to email IPPROur KingdomLibCon or LibDemVoice. Or, if you want to write your own contribution on your own website, please let us know so we can link to it. We are aware that Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland have their own non-London media, and their views and experience are important. Our aim is to both help release and to bring together the energy and diversity of radical thinking across the web in the UK to take advantage of this rare moment.

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4 Comments

  • @Geoffrey Payne – ” It is probably a reasonable assumption that the Tories will be the main obstacle to media reform as they have the most to lose, although I notice that Peter Oborne has made some interesting comments on this subject.”
    Peter Oborne’s a bit of a one off. As Telegraph political editor he won’t be breaking down doors like the Guardian’s Nick Davies, but he has been using language that effectively appeals to many a Tory Telegraph reader (likening the Murdochs to racketeers, for instance) who remain blissfully unaware of the games played by those rocky Barclay twins. Neither will Peter be telling you much about the Mail’s dirty little secrets, he’s keeping his powder dry in case of a return visit.
    However, although inconsistent in his personal allegiances, at least Oborne sticks to his guns over ethics. Compare him to Stephen Glover of The Independent who might as well be writing under an alias when he goes on to attack critics of the Tory press – all in the name of press freedom,of course, which he espouses so eloquently in his Indie column.
    Would it be too much to imagine a single Conservative supporting newspaper being prepared to discuss a moratorium on party propaganda during election time? Just a thought.

  • Is a different and better structure of ownership of the print media possible?
    Is it possible to restart the News Chronicle or some other Liberal newspaper?
    Answers please to
    newschronicle at hotmail.com

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