Reform of Press Self-regulation



In July 2011 following the revelations about phone hacking, all three political party leaders called for radical reform of the current system of press self-regulation. Those within the press itself, including the Daily Mail, also conceded that serious changes were necessary. At the same time both politicians and press stressed the importance of protecting the freedom of the press and preventing undue government interference. Starting with both these pre-requisites in mind—the creation of a new independent system and the protection of press freedom—this essay suggests four possible models of reform. For each model the essay sketches the basic parameters of reform and then suggests three problems associated with each. It argues against those who claim that anything more than small changes to the status quo would be too costly, would threaten press freedom, or would be technologically impractical.