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Media Regulation

Media Regulation
Governance and the Interests of Citizens and Consumers

December 2011 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

In Media Regulation, two leading scholars of the media examine the challenges of regulation in the global mediated sphere. This book explores the way that regulation affects the relations between government, the media and communications market, civil society, citizens and consumers. Drawing on theories of governance and the public sphere, the book critically analyzes issues at the heart of today's media, from the future of public service broadcasting to burdens on individuals to develop their media literacy.

Peter Lunt and Sonia Livingstone incisively lay bare shifts in governance and the new role of the public sphere which implicate self-regulation, the public interest, the role of civil society and the changing risks and opportunities for citizens and consumers. It is essential reading to understand the forces that are reshaping the media landscape.

Media and Communications Regulation and the Public Interest

Regulation and the Role of the State

Regulation, Civil Society and the Public Sphere

Market Innovation versus Social Democratic Values

Introducing the Case Studies

Regulation and the Public Interest
From Government to Governance

The Theory of Regulation

Strategies of Regulation

New Labour, Social Democracy and Regulation

The European Context

The UK Context

Regulation and the Public Interest

Ofcom's Core Purposes: A Discursive Struggle
Media Regulation and the Implied Audience

The Communications Act 2003: In Whose Interest?

Ofcom's Remit: Interpreting Its Primary Duties

Actions to Further Citizens' and Consumers' Interests

Citizen Interests in a Wider Perspective

Ofcom as a Regulatory Agency
Ofcom's Remit and Rationale

From Guiding Principles to Working Practices

Core Business: Telecommunications, Spectrum Management and Media Plurality

Ofcom as an Institution in the Public Sphere

The Content Board and (Communications) Consumer Panel

Defining Citizen and Consumer Interests in Practice

Public Views of Regulation


Ofcom's Review of Public Service Television

Public Service Broadcasting in the 1980s and 1990s

Ofcom's Remit in Reviewing Public Service Television

Ofcom's First Review of Public Service Television

A Public Service for All

Ofcom's Second Public Service Television Review

Ofcom's Consultation on the Second Review


Media Literacy
A New Lease of Life for an Old Policy

A Puzzling Task for the New Regulator

Definitional Diversity in Europe

Media Literacy as a Neo-Liberal Policy

The Politics of Media Literacy

From Media Literacy to Digital Participation

From Principles to Practice

From Individual Skills to Social Capabilities


Advertising Regulation and Childhood Obesity

Regulating Advertising to Children

The Challenges of Evidence-Based Policy

Regulatory Action and Reaction

Regulatory Effectiveness?

Reflections on Evidence-Based Policy


Community Radio

The Community Radio Order 2004

Regulating Community Radio

Evaluating Ofcom's Regulation of Community Radio


A Change of Direction

The Power to Make Policy

On the Value of an Independent Regulator



An exemplary study of how media regulation works (and, by implication, how it could work better) set within a wider discussion of democratic theory and political values. It will be of interest not only to students and scholars but to people around the world grappling with the same problem: the need to regulate markets, and the difficulty of doing this well.

James Curran
Goldsmiths, University of London

Separately and jointly, Lunt and Livingstone have authored many fine writings, but this is arguably the best of the bunch! What makes this research special - even timeless for regulatory 'theory' - is its positioning amidst a set of well-defined philosophical and political tensions, especially between the interests of consumers and those of citizens.

Jay G. Blumler
University of Leeds

In the 1970s, media regulation began to be analyzed as a political development; in the 1980s, as a facet of and contributor to globalization; in the 1990s, as a discourse; and in the first decade of the 20th century, as exemplars and evidence of changes in the nature of the state itself. In this book, Lunt and Livingstone rely upon their deep knowledge of audiences to treat British media regulator Ofcom as an agent within the public sphere, adding to the interdisciplinary toolkit of those involved in policy analysis and providing a model that could usefully be applied to other types and loci of regulatory processes.

Sandra Braman
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Media Regulation’s strength lies, first of all, in its multifaceted and extremely convincing analysis of Ofcom as a regulatory institution in the UK context. The variety of case studies adds to the richness and balance of the arguments provided. Secondly, the book provides a more general analysis of modern-day media governance per se. It shows a sensitivity to how changing paradigms in media regulation have an effect on how media institutions and regulatory authorities interact to constitute modern-day media as both a consumer good and as a democratic tool in the public sphere.

Mette Marie Roslyng - Dept. of Communication and Psychology, University of Aalborg, Denmark
Medie Kultur - Journal of media and communication research

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

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