‘And what good came of it at last?’ Press–politician relations post-Leveson

Barnett, Steven and Townend, Judith (2014) ‘And what good came of it at last?’ Press–politician relations post-Leveson. Political Quarterly, 85 (2). pp. 159-169. ISSN 0032-3179

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James Margach famously argued that Prime Ministers from Lloyd George to Callaghan had been intent on exploiting the media in their determination to centralise power. From Margaret Thatcher onwards, however, there is a strong argument that the power relationship has been reversed, and that the Leveson Inquiry—set up in the wake of the phone hacking scandal—exposed a political class which had become deeply fearful of the power and influence of the national press. Citing evidence to Leveson and subsequent recommendations by the inquiry, this article presents two case studies—on data protection and on media ownership—where the public interest clearly demanded political intervention, which would be inconvenient for the major publishers. And yet, despite recommendations by Lord Justice Leveson and despite clear support from leading politicians of all parties, there has been virtually no policy progress in either case. While the Leveson Inquiry was billed as a watershed in press–politician relations and an opportunity to counteract decades of unhealthy press power, political inertia in these two areas suggests that very little has changed.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: media policy, media plurality, media ownership, data protection
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
K Law
K Law > KD Law of the United Kingdom and Ireland
Depositing User: Judith Townend
Date Deposited: 04 May 2017 10:16
Last Modified: 04 May 2017 10:23
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67661

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