Three-D Issue 19: Hunt-Black proposals not in best interests of journalism

This letter was originally published in the Financial Times, 1 November 2012. Several signatories are members of the MeCCSA Policy Network. URL:

We are free speech advocates and senior educators of law and journalism students in British universities and we write to express our opposition to proposals for a new self-regulatory body for the press that have been put forward by Lord Hunt, the chair of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), and Lord Black, the chair of the Press Standards Board of Finance.

We do not believe these proposals to be in the best interests of journalists and journalism. The Hunt-Black scheme is an attempt to perpetuate self-regulation by editors, an approach that has been shown over nearly 60 years to have failed both journalists and newspaper readers – a failure that led to the establishment of the Leveson Inquiry.

While the new scheme incorporates some features not seen in the discredited PCC, we believe these changes are insufficient to promote good journalism or to protect the public from the kinds of abuses highlighted so vividly in evidence to Lord Justice Leveson. We urge all parties interested in a healthy, fair and free press to reject the Hunt-Black proposals and to await the judge’s recommendations, which are due in the coming weeks.

Prof Stuart Allan,
Bournemouth University

Prof Steven Barnett,
University of Westminster

Prof John Corner,
University of Leeds

Prof James Curran,
Goldsmiths, Uni. of London

Prof Mike Feintuck,
University of Hull

Prof Natalie Fenton,
Goldsmiths, Uni. of London

Prof Matthew Flinders,
University of Sheffield

Prof Chris Frost,
Liverpool John Moores Uni.

Prof Ivor Gaber, Research
University of Bedfordshire

Prof Thomas Gibbons,
University of Manchester

Prof Ian Hargreaves,
Cardiff University

Prof Jackie Harrison,
University of Sheffield

Prof David Hutchison,
Glasgow Caledonian University

Prof Justin Lewis,
Cardiff University

Prof Joni Lovenduski,
Birkbeck, University of London

Dr Tim Markham,
Birkbeck, University of London

Prof Maire Messenger Davies,
University of Ulster

Prof Graham Murdock,
Loughborough University

Prof Ralph Negrine,
University of Sheffield

Prof Julian Petley,
Brunel University

Prof Greg Philo,
University of Glasgow

Prof Richard Sambrook,
Cardiff University

Prof Philip Schlesinger,
University of Glasgow

Prof Jean Seaton,
University of Westminster

Prof Frank Webster,
City University

Prof Lorna Woods,
City University


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