John Steel

Leveson: Solution or symptom? Class, crisis and the degradation of civil life[1]

This paper argues the Leveson process is one which has been flawed since its inception. Understandable though they are, the calls for tighter regulation of the press following the News of the World's despicable treatment of the Dowler and McCann families and many others, will undoubtedly fail to address deeper systemic and structural issues which have contributed to the crisis not only in journalism but in public life itself. Rehabilitating the press is not only currently unfeasible, as numerous inquiries and royal commissions have demonstrated, but attempts to force the popular press to behave in ways which run counter to their raison d'Ítre miss the point about the broader democratic and civic culture which exists in Britain today.

Keywords: democratic deficit, media reform, political legitimacy, civic disengagement


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Note on the contributor

John Steel is a Lecturer in the Department of Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield. He is the author of a number of articles on press freedom and media censorship, journalism and technological change and journalism education. He has recently published his first book Journalism and free speech (Routledge, 2012) and is currently co-editing The Routledge Companion To British Media History with Martin Conboy. He is also editing a forthcoming special edition of Media History which focuses on exploring the language of popular journalism. Email: