Media Regulation, Public Interest and the Law

Media Regulation, Public Interest and the Law

Media Regulation, Public Interest and the Law

Media Regulation, Public Interest and the Law


Regulation of the media has traditionally been premised upon claims of 'the public interest', yet the term itself remains contested and generally ill defined. In the context of technological development and convergence, as well as corporate conglomeration, traditional 'public service' values in British broadcasting are challenged by market values. With such ongoing trends continuing apace, regulators must increasingly justify their interventions. The communication industries' commercialisation and privatisation pose a fundamental threat to democratic values. Media Regulation, Public Interest and the Law argues that regulators will only successfully protect such values if claims associated with 'citizenship' are recognised as the rationale and objective for the regulatory endeavour. While such themes are central to the book, this second edition has been substantially revised and updated, to take account of matters such as European Directives, the UK's Communications Act 2003, the process of reviewing the BBC's Charter, and relevant aspects of the reform of general competition law. Key Features
• Identifies and examines the rationales underlying media regulation and the current challenges to them.
• Considers fully the actual and potential utility of legal mechanisms and principles in the design and activities of regulatory institutions.
• Fully updated to take account of the European Union's 2002 New Regulatory Framework and the UK's Communications Act 2003.
• Accessible to a wide readership in media studies, journalism, broadcasting and law. Praise for the First Edition"A detailed and critical assessment of the problems and confusions of recent media regulation in the UK including digital television franchising and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission it is well organised, and should be a useful resource for more advanced students and academics for updating the public regulation case with vigour and clarity this book is to be welcomed."T


Any book focused on as fast-moving a subject as media regulation inevitably risks being rapidly overtaken by events. Since the first edition of this work appeared in 1999, trends in technological development and convergence and media conglomeration have continued apace and have in particular continued to offer threats to traditional public service values in broadcasting. In an attempt to address such developments, regulatory regimes have been substantially reformed, at both the national and European levels.

This greatly revised and expanded second edition seeks to review the implications of such changes, but, in the spirit of the original work, focuses predominantly on broad underlying themes rather than fine detail. These themes have remained almost entirely unchanged and their relevance has remained as great as ever, or perhaps, in light of developments discussed, they may have acquired even greater significance. Certainly, it was interesting for us to note the extent to which the Puttnam Committee's scrutiny of the UK's Draft Communications Bill emphasised the relationship between media regulation and citizenship around which this book revolves.

Though retaining their original structure and thematic focus, Chapters 1 to 3 have been updated by both authors to reflect recent and ongoing developments. Chapter 4, though retaining coverage of the position prior to 2003 by way of important historical context, now has a substantial body of new material, written by Mike Feintuck, dealing with the position under the Communications Act of that year. Chapter 5 is in essence entirely new, and Chapter 6 largely so; both written by Mike Varney, they offer more detailed studies of aspects of UK regulation and of the significance of the relationship between different tiers of regulation in Britain and Europe. Chapter 7, rewritten by Mike Feintuck, offers conclusions which reflect the work's original focus but incorporate also the new material.

There is no more of an effort to be comprehensive in coverage in this edition than in the first. Indeed, in the interests of keeping the work within a reasonable and accessible length, we have had to lose much of the . . .

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