The Leveson Inquiry: Culture, Practices and Ethics

If you are going to be a Media and Communications student at the University of Leicester then you have to know two things. Firstly, that the Media and Communications course is amazing. Secondly, is the Leveson Inquiry. It’s the biggest thing to ever happen in the past century with the newspaper industry in the UK.

I won’t go into the details too much but the inquiry is an investigation into the “culture, practices and ethics” of the journalists within the British press. For those of you who are British, you are probably aware of the constant phone hacking allegations towards certain newspapers such as News of the World in order to find ‘scoops’ so newspapers can sell more copies in the market due to intense competition with one another.

Personally, I found out that what I learned from the inquiry was bizarre. Hearing the former Chief Executive of the News International, Rebekah Brooks, regularly texting Prime Minister David Cameron, is something that should not be happening. Texts about horse riding and winning the majority vote in the 2010 elections to congratulate him is showing the relationship between politicians and journalists is far too close.

The Inquiry also found the relationship between the press and the media is too close. However, very little is being done to fix this. The Inquiry recommended a self-regulatory body within the press, a revamp of the Press Complaints Commission and no government powers over the press. The Inquiry also found that there was not a extensive corruption with the press and police, the news media have a general lack of respect for individual’s privacy and dignity and the British press can sometimes be “outrageous” in how they act.

As much as I agree with the notion of freedom of expression or freedom of speech, both radio and television have regulations on their news output on what journalists can and cannot say. This should also be applied to the press. However, the whole point of the press is to be a watchdog and keep a check on government, so there should be minimal, if any, interference from the government. If so, a regulatory body such as OFCOM which are independent from government should be in charge of disciplinary actions and to prevent another Milly Dowler case from happening again.

This is something that we are currently studying in the degree. As with technology, the degree is fast paced and keeps up to date with the going on’s in the world of the media. Learning about such things as the power of social media is fun – and the impacts of using Facebook, Twitter and BBM has on society. This is an example of what we learn and have to keep up with in the world of the media.

If you want to read more about the Inquiry since you will need to know about it if you’re going to study a media-orientated degree, then The Guardian and the BBC website both have good coverage on the latest news and details.

Until next time folks!

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Jordan has now graduated from the University of Leicester.

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