In most mature democracies around the world, preserving media plurality has become a major political regulatory issue. As powerful media enterprises seek to consolidate further in a hostile economic environment, governments are struggling to prevent too much media power accumulating in too few hands.
At risk is the diversity of voices and editorial output which are the lifeblood of a healthy democracy and an informed citizenry.
In the UK over the last two years, we have seen vivid examples of the accretion of corporate power, the apparent unwillingness (or inability) of policy-makers to intervene, and the failure of existing policy and regulatory regimes to protect the public interest. Evidence to the Leveson Inquiry has provided abundant testimony to the political, economic and regulatory problems being posed.
Meanwhile, powerful online aggregators and social media groups – such Google and Facebook – raise new plurality questions about dominance through gatekeeping; and new community-based journalism enterprises and foundation-funded initiatives raise important questions about funding, sustainability and different organisational models.
This website was created as part of a project based at the University of Westminster’s Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which aimed to address those policy issues at one of the most crucial junctures of policy making in recent political history. It has provided, we hope, a forum for discussion about media plurality amongst regulators, policy makers and scholars, and a public space for anyone to showcase their own research, papers, written submissions or any other contribution to the debate.
The project, under the AHRC’s research fellowship scheme, was led by Professor Steven Barnett. The research associate was Judith Townend.
This project has now formally come to an end, but we plan to launch our edited collection resulting from the research at a major event in 2015. We hope you will continue to find the website and its associated resources useful for ongoing work in this area. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.