Press regulation: three reasons why a 30 year old campaign must continue – Steven Barnett

19 01 2017

National NewspapersWith the government’s consultation on whether to proceed with the section 40 cost-shifting incentives of the Leveson framework now closed, there will be a brief political pause. Neither that consultation nor the intense political manoeuvring that is likely to follow should distract us from the long-standing and urgent need to tackle reform of press regulation in order to protect both the public and public interest journalism. Read the rest of this entry »





Murdoch Sky bid is a nasty Christmas headache for the culture secretary – Steven Barnett

21 12 2016

Six years after his first frustrated bid to take full ownership of Sky, Rupert Murdoch is seeking once again to capture the 61% he doesn’t already own. In 2011, the bid from Murdoch’s News Corporation (for what was then BSkyB) was first referred to Ofcom, then derailed by the phone hacking scandal. Read the rest of this entry »





Impress vs IPSO: A chasm, not a cigarette paper – Steven Barnett

30 10 2016

ipso-vs-impress-collage-e1477660796395-800x601In his blog last week the editor of the Press Gazette argued that there was “barely a cigarette paper’s worth of difference” between would-be press regulators IPSO and Impress.  If only. In truth, there is a chasm between the two which would take an essay to enumerate. Here are just four fundamental differences. Read the rest of this entry »





History repeated as IPSO morphs into the PCC – Steven Barnett

25 10 2016

sir-alan-mosesAnyone reading last week’s newspaper editorials  in newspapers such as the Mail or the Telegraph will know that our press is anxious. This week, the independent Press Recognition Panel – established by Parliament as part of the post-Leveson framework – is meeting to decide whether to confer recognition status on Impress, a self-regulator established in order to meet the Charter criteria for genuinely effective and independent self-regulation. Read the rest of this entry »





Does Theresa May really want an independent BBC? The jury’s out – Steven Barnett

24 09 2016

rona-fairheadThere are two ways of looking at Theresa May’s decision to reverse Rona Fairhead’s appointment as BBC chair, thereby effectively dismissing her. The first is benign, reflecting a genuine impatience with David Cameron’s decision to allow Fairhead to move across from the BBC Trust to the new Unitary Board, which will come into effect early next year. Read the rest of this entry »





Brexit and the Tragic Downfall of British Media – Steven Barnett

9 07 2016

Newspapers BrexitThere is a conceit among many senior editors in the U.K. that Britain has “the best journalism in the world.” At its best, certainly, British journalism is very good indeed. From the sober analysis of the Financial Times and the Economist to the tub-thumping of the tabloid press to the BBC’s worldwide reputation for accuracy and impartiality, the British public has access to a healthy mixture of domestic, foreign, and investigative reporting. On many occasions, democracy has been well served by journalists here who make important stories accessible and hold power to account. Read the rest of this entry »





Privacy and Injunctions: the Press does not speak for the People – Steven Barnett

17 05 2016

privacy-policy-mainWhen the Court of Appeal overturned a judge’s refusal to grant an injunction to a married celebrity about an alleged “threesome”, much of the British press could barely conceal its fury.  Read the rest of this entry »