Regulating the Press

Regulating the Press

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A free press is the cornerstone of democracy. Does this then give the press the right to print inaccurate material with relative impunity? Should the public have a statutory right of reply to inaccuracy in the press? And how free is the press in a world of converging technologies and crossmedia ownership?

Clive Soley and Tom O'Malley set the issues of press regulation in their historical context, focusing on the period after 1945. They specifically look at the history and record of the Press Council and assess the performance of the Press Complaints Commission. The book analyses the arguments surrounding attempts to improve standards by introducing statutory rights for the public, and the reasons for the failure of these initiatives.

Focusing on issues of principle such as accuracy, misrepresentation and privacy, the authors re-examine the ways in which debates over press freedom versus regulation illuminate the fundamental conflicts between a fully accountable press and the economic imperatives of the free market economy.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 135 x 215 x 18.03mm | 390.09g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745311970
  • 9780745311975

Table of contents


Part I: The History Of Self-Regulation by Tom O'Malley

1. Putting The Press Into Perspective

2. The Meanings of the Press

3. Working on the Law: Employers, Journalists and the legal framework.

4. A Sense of Doubt: the Origins and History of Self-regulation up to 1972

5. Nothing Resolved: Self-Regulation, 1972-1998

6. Organising and Defining Self-Regulation

7. Self-Regulation at Work - An Overview

Part II: Cases And Issues by Clive Soley

8. The Problem of Accuracy in the UK Press in the 1980s and 1990s

9. The Distorting Mirror. The problem of Misrepresentation in the press in the 1980s and 1990s

10. Privacy and Self-regulation

Part III: Reforming Regulation by Tom O'Malley And Clive Soley

11. Rights and Responsibilities: The Need for Reform

Appendix Freedom and Responsibility of the Press Bill


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Review quote

'As rich in historical details as it is lucid in its arguments, it succeeds admirably' -- Free Press
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About Tom O'Malley

Tom O'Malley is Professor of Media Studies at Aberystwyth University, Wales. He is the co-founder of the journal Media History and is the author of Regulating the Press (Pluto, 2000). Clive Soley has been a Labour MP in West London since 1979. From 1997 to 2001, he was the Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party. He is the author of Regulating the Press (Pluto Press, 2000).
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