Three-D Issue 27: Leveson revisited, and HE’s multiple fronts

Rupert Murdoch has relaunched his attempt to buy the remainder of BSkyB to secure total ownership of the broadcaster, following his aborted attempt in July 2011. Then Prime Minister, David Cameron, had just announced a judicial public inquiry – firstly into future regulation of the press and secondly specific allegations of corruption and lawbreaking – to be chaired by Lord Justice Leveson. Only the first of those stages has so far been completed.

It reflects the gall of Murdoch that he renews his BSkyB takeover bid just as the Government is undertaking a consultation on the promised second phase of the Leveson inquiry. Not so humble anymore, it seems. At the same time, the consultation appears designed to favour a particular outcome and undermine any chance of Leveson Part 2 ever materialising, and along with it eroding Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 (see Steven Barnett’s article, pages 2-3, for details).

MeCCSA will be responding to the consultation, and we have also drafted a letter to Karen Bradley expressing our concern about the terms of the consultation. Please consider adding your support by signing it via our website (see page 27 for full details).

We are also facing another upheaval in the Higher Education sector – following the EU referendum, the impending TEF and the recently launched Hefce consultation on the future REF. This issue of Three-D features MeCCSA updates on our work relating to the REF, and with ESRC/AHRC on low and inconsistent RCUK funding in our field. It also features reflections on UCU’s aborted campaign and how we can now rebuild momentum and cohesion.

Finally, in this issue we again focus on our academic colleagues in Turkey who face intimidation, threats and incarceration – simply for speaking out against the regime. Their plight is an important reminder of how rapidly things change (IAMCR 2011 and ECREA 2012 were both hosted in Istanbul), when power is concentrated and freedom of expression curtailed. Please read the recommendations on page 21 and consider how you can help.

Posted by Einar Thorsen