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 Rather than persisting with the outdated two-tier system of statutory regulation for broadcasting and self-regulation for the press, the policy brief proposes a cross-media, three-tier regulatory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:
- account for all content in the public space, not merely that produced by ‘the press’;
- overcome the so-called ‘Desmond Problem’ of regulatory non-compliance by incentivizing voluntary adherence through privileges and kite-marked ethical standards;
- empower citizens to make informed, democratic choices across media platforms.