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The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society (FLJS) is an independent not-for-profit institution that aims to promote an understanding of the role of law in society. We identify and analyse issues of contemporary interest and importance, disseminating the insights of decision-makers and experts to a global audience through our extensive online resource of free-to-download Policy Briefings, Opinion Pieces, and multimedia podcasts.

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Press Regulation: Taking account of media convergence

Author: 
Lara Fielden
Publication date: 
Tue, 3 Jul 2012

This policy brief by media expert Lara Fielden proposes a radical new framework for press regulation based on a comparative study of international press councils, which addresses what Lord Justice Leveson has described as the 'elephant in the room' of the Leveson Inquiry: regulation of online media.
 
Fielden draws on her experience at Ofcom and the BBC to argue that, as broadcast, newspaper, video-on-demand, and other online content become increasingly indistinguishable, debate over the future of press regulation must encompass online media. Rather than persisting with the outdated two-tier system of statutory regulation for broadcasting and self-regulation for the press, the policy brief proposes a cross-media, three-tier regulatory structure.
 
This approach, Fielden argues, will:

  1. account for all content in the public space, not merely that produced by ‘the press’;
  2. overcome the so-called ‘Desmond Problem’ of regulatory non-compliance by incentivizing voluntary adherence through privileges and kite-marked ethical standards;
  3. empower citizens to make informed, democratic choices across media platforms.