Regulation of the press

Never have journalism and press standards been so scrutinized, with the years leading up to the Leveson Inquiry seeing the industry itself making the headlines. Research at LJMU has significantly contributed to the debate and influenced policymakers, campaigners and regulators.

The last ten years has seen unprecedented attention on press standards but long before revelations of phone hacking, researchers from LJMU’s Journalism department had been highlighting the fact that an effective media was dependent upon responsible handling of sources and appropriate regulation.

Research has concentrated on three main areas: standards, the effectiveness of media regulators and dealings between reporters and their sources, particularly in circumstances of bereavement (the so-called ‘death knock’ or intrusion into private grief).

Research findings have been used in evidence to various select committees and were utilised by an independent review of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) in 2009. Mediawise, a charity supporting the victims of media abuse, has used it to inform its policies, reports and blogs. Most significantly, LJMU research has played a significant role in the most influential and hard-hitting investigation into press standards for decades – the Leveson Inquiry.

LJMU researchers provided direct oral and written evidence to the Inquiry and research findings were used to underpin the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) policy forums and submission to Leveson.

The Inquiries key, high-profile recommendation that there was a need for statutory underpinning for a press regulator to give it authority and to bring it more closely in line with Ofcom, was directly supported by the research.

The world-wide publicity around the Leveson Inquiry prompted other countries to investigate their media regulation and LJMU researchers were in demand to provide support. Contributions were made to investigations into press regulation in South Africa, Ghana and Australia.

LJMU researchers have given seminars at The DART Centre Europe – a regional hub for journalists and filmmakers who believe that effective reporting on violence and trauma matters – and their expertise is drawn on to support the approach of reporters on The Belfast Telegraph, the UK's Daily Express and the main journalism website:

Find out more about the journalism research carried out within LJMU's Liverpool Screen School.

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