Chapter 5 - Regulating news media: strengths and weaknesses of the current approaches

Introduction

Having defined “news media” for the purposes of the law, and established the need for some form of public accountability for those exercising this type of speech, we now turn to the second question in our terms of reference: whether, and to what extent, the jurisdiction of the Broadcasting Standards Authority and/or the Press Council should be extended to cover these new publishers. As discussed in the introductory chapter, there is currently a lack of regulatory parity between traditional news media and unregulated web publishers on the one hand, and broadcasters and print publishers on the other.

In this chapter we examine this regulatory parity problem in more depth, and in particular the “regulatory gaps” which exist in the jurisdiction of these two bodies with respect to both new, and traditional, news media.

We begin by outlining the two regimes that currently regulate print news media and broadcast media, explaining the rationale for the two different regulatory approaches and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Finally we discuss the implications of convergence and the web 2.0 era for the future regulation of news media and consider the arguments for a single regulator.