Guarding the Guardians: The Leveson Inquiry and the Future of Independent Journalism

This source preferred by Stephen Jukes

Authors: Jukes, S. and Allan, S.

Editors: Bennett, J. and Strange, N.

Publisher: Routledge

This chapter beings by tracing the emergence of the fourth estate ideal in order to situate current debates over the press’s relative independence in historical context. Against this backdrop, the chapter proceeds to discuss the key findings of the UK’s Leveson Inquiry, on the face of it a pivotal moment in the continuous reassessment of the guiding principles of reportorial integrity. In offering an evaluative appraisal of these findings, the chapter explores the ethical issues at stake for press regulation in the light of calls to rethink journalism’s public interest responsibilities in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal. It considers several of the perceived advantages as well as the possible dangers of implementing Leveson’s recommendations. The aim is to question whether the soul-searching engendered by deliberations over the scandal will actually lead to lasting, progressive change or whether the independence long associated with the fourth estate role has come to an end.

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