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A free press is the cornerstone of democracy. Does this then give the press the right to print inaccurate material with relative impunity? Should the public have a statutory right of reply to inaccuracy in the press? And how free is the press in a world of converging techlogies and crossmedia ownership? Clive Soley and Tom O'Malley set the issues of press regulation in their historical context, focusing on the period after 1945. They specifically look at the history and record of the Press Council and assess the performance of the Press Complaints Commission. The book analyses the arguments surrounding attempts to improve standards by introducing statutory rights for the public, and the reasons for the failure of these initiatives. Focusing on issues of principle such as accuracy, misrepresentation and privacy, the authors reexamine the ways in which debates over press freedom versus regulation illuminate the fundamental conflicts between a fully accountable press and the ecomic imperatives of the free market ecomy.
Tom O'Malley is Professor of Media Studies at Aberystwyth University, Wales. He is the co-founder of the journal Media History and is the author of Regulating the Press (Pluto, 2000). Clive Soley has been MP for Hammersmith 1979-97 and Ealing, Acton Shepherd's Bush since 1997.