The Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practice, and ethics of the British press was triggered when the phone-hacking scandal’s full scale became clear in July 2011 and closed the News of the World. But the inquiry has gone much wider than that, hearing evidence about accuracy, fairness, privacy, regulation, and law.
Much of the debate in and around the inquiry has focused narrowly on possible improvements to the much-criticized system of self-regulation for the press. This policy brief argues that a broader look at the relationship between the law and regulation would suggest that there is a bargain to be struck.
The fourth and final policy brief from our series assessing the progress of the Leveson Inquiry and the future of media regulation sees the Director of the Media Policy Project at the London School of Economics Damian Tambini provocatively argue that we should abandon the concept of press freedom altogether.
The capture of regulators by industry interests was once viewed as the dominant paradigm for failures of regulation. Recently, the financial crisis has re-awoken interest in ‘regulatory capture’ — a term used by the Governor of the Bank of England Sir Mervyn King, among others.