University explores press regulation and ethics across Europe

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

The University of Sheffield’s Journalism Studies department is leading a study comparing press regulation and ethics across 12 European countries.

The study is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and will “break new ground” in examining press and regulators.

"Our interdisciplinary project seeks to address long-standing issues around journalism ethics and regulation and their consequences for those working in journalism as well as those who are affected by journalism's practices and products,” explained Dr John Steel, from the University’s Department of Journalism Studies, who is leading the project with colleagues from Sheffield, the University of Leeds and Durham University.

"As news workers – traditional and non-traditional – face a range of technological, legal and economic challenges, I am delighted to be leading this AHRC-funded project which will produce high-impact, evidence-based research that will benefit academic and non-academic partners in the UK and overseas."

Their hope is that the study will have a far-reaching social impact, to benefit individual journalists, regulatory bodies, advocacy groups for media freedom and ethics, plus groups who’ve  been discriminated against by sections of the press.

Academics will use document analysis, interviews, focus groups, stakeholderworkshops, an online course and public exhibition, to develop a set of recommendations and benchmarks for the freedom of the press.

The team says this will allow publishers both to pursue the “classical liberal rationale for journalism as 'watchdog' or 'fourth estate' and to challenge the hegemony of the corporate press.”