Nick Beaumont (graduated 2011), has launched his own online business, NPcontent, specialising in content production, SEO-enhancement and advertising copy. Having spent two years in China, Nick is also able to help businesses who are planning to work there.
It is somewhat spurious to suggest that statutory regulation would not hobble the press’s investigative power on the basis that content-regulated ITV mounted (for example) the Jimmy Savile expose and therefore there can be no objections on this basis to extending such a regime to print (Editors jostle for position ahead of battle, 27 November).
A far better indication of the consequential dangers of content regulation by the state is the Hutton inquiry. The content-regulated BBC was called to account for its actions in reporting on David Kelly while Paul Dacre and Lord Rothermere (who ran the same story) were not. The question of independence needs to be tested against broadcasting’s record of investigations of UK political power, and history suggests that this has been less than stellar. Over time, it has certainly been consistently more constrained than parallel probes by the printed press: witness, for example, Hackgate itself, and the Guardian’s crucial role in that.
To argue against statutory control, however, is in no way to endorse misfeasance or worse in the name of supposed “public interest”. There the full weight of the law should indeed be felt – but we got rid of the last statutory regulator of the press in 1695 for good reasons. These are still in play.
Professor Brian Winston
University of Lincoln