Policy Network Report, AGM2013

Network meetings and events

Policy issues are regularly on the agenda for universities all over the country, particularly in this year of the Leveson Inquiry. Events in 2012 included:

Dr Jonathan Hardy’s speech to the Oxford Media Convention on 25 January 2012 outlining proposals for media pluralism.

24 February 2012: ‘News of the World: A Study Day’, King’s College London,

20th March 2012: Westminster Media Forum Keynote Seminar: ‘Priorities for press regulation’, with Lord Hunt of Wirral, Chairman, Press Complaints Commission and Professor Steven Barnett, University of Westminster, among many others.

2-4 April, 2012: A  ‘landmark media conference’ hosted by the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre: ‘Media, Power & Revolution: Making the 21st Century’
 Senate House, London.

May 16, 2012: Media Reform public summit, Central Hall, Westminster; email info@mediareform.org.uk.

June 25th 2012: Máire Messenger Davies and Julian Petley, along with a number of law academics, were invited to attend a seminar organized by the Crown Prosecution Service, to discuss proposals for public interest defences for journalists. These proposals, can be seen at https://www.cps.gov.uk/consultations/mg_consultation.pdf

November 29th 2012:

The Media Reform Coalition, Avaaz and the National Union of Journalists held a Parliamentary Lobby, ‘Clean Up Our Media’. They urged colleagues to attend and

‘ to let politicians know that we want real action on media reform. …We know that the powerful interests who benefit from the status quo are pressurising politicians to resist any real change to media regulation, ownership, or working conditions for journalists. Only pressure from voters will enable MPs to stand up to them.’

To get involved people were advised to:


1. Effective press regulation, backed by law, which is independent of both media owners and government and which gives ordinary people protection and redress.

2. The promotion of a plurality of voices by placing limits on media ownership, with Parliament laying down thresholds so that no single person or company owns an excessive share of the media.

3. A conscience clause for journalists, who should be able to refuse to write stories that distort the truth or unnecessarily invade privacy, accompanied by a strong public interest defense so that justified investigations of wrong-doing are protected by law.

Forthcoming event:

Strategies for Media Reform: An International Workshop

International Communication Association Pre-conference

London – June 17, 2013

Public debate

A group of Policy Network members wrote to the Guardian on ‘illegality and coverup at News Corp’. See https://www.mediareform.org.uk/uncategorized/media-reform-letter-published-in-the-guardian

There was also a letter criticizing the Hunt/Black proposals for press regulation and urging support for the Leveson recommendations, which was published in the Financial Times on November 1st 2012, signed by 26 senior academics, most of whom are members of the Policy network. This letter and its signatories can be seen in the most recent issue of 3D at https://dl.dropbox.com/u/34333808/Three-D/ThreeD-Issue019.pdf

See also the regular blogs at the LSE Media Policy Project, including a useful Leveson roundup: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mediapolicyproject/2012/02/02/leveson-round-up-a-new-compact-for-the-press/

Campaign for Media Reform – CCMR

This group has drawn up a number of recommendations on reform, regulation and ownership of the media, and has circulated them for endorsement and/or support. Their proposals were debated at the MeCCSA AGM in 2011 and the following motion was passed:

“This AGM supports the initiative of the Coordinating Committee for Media Reform in its submission to Leveson, and further public forums, as a proper and fruitful stimulus to well-informed debate.”

The Media Reform group co-ordinator can be contacted at Tel [redacted] and further information can be found on their website or by contacting Justin Schlosberg at [mediareformcommittee@gmail.com] Other useful weblinks of interest to media policy researchers:

 Off website www.hackinginquiry.org.

Leveson hearings https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/oct/13/leveson-inquiry-witness-evidence?newsfeed=true
 contact: rachel.clark@levesoninquiry.gsi.gov.uk

Responses to Leveson

The Leveson report on ‘The Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press’ was published on 29th November 2012 – see https://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780.asp. For an executive summary see https://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0779/0779.asp

Many academic and civil society responses, via the CCMR, the Hacked Off campaign and the Media Standards Trust, were forthcoming and the debate continues. This debate is also represented at this conference – particularly via our Journalism Futures keynote panel, and by the special panel on Leveson. Maybe, by the next MeCCSA AGM, arrangements will have been put in place to remedy, at least partially, some of the many malpractices revealed by the Inquiry, which have so damaged the reputation of journalism. I conclude with a message from a fellow media and cultural studies academic, and a phone hacking victim, Professor John Tulloch, formerly of Brunel University: ‘I do hope that, as the most

important communication association in the UK, you are able to offer official and public support to the media reform campaign.’ Although views differ, inevitably, we are pleased that MeCCSA continues to offer a lively forum for these views.

Ofcom Media Literacy and Research seminars

We regularly collaborate on these; there was one on 26th April, one on 21st November 2012, at which colleagues presented their research to audience of industry, press, Ofcom staff, fellow-academics etc. These are organised with the Ofcom Research Department.

Máire Messenger Davies, January 2013

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