New paper: Leveson online – A publicly reported inquiry

My paper on public access to the Leveson Inquiry has been published in the new issue of Ethical Space, The International Journal of Communication Ethics.

Abstract: The Leveson Inquiry has broken new ground for court and political reporting: for the first time a public inquiry held under the Inquiries Act 2005 has been played out live on the internet. Online media provided a chance for ordinary members of the public, non-profit groups and small media organisations to expand and question mainstream media narratives, as they watched, blogged and tweeted proceedings. This paper considers public access to the inquiry, arguing that digital communication has allowed for a newly liberated form of debate and enhanced the public’s entitlement to report what they hear in court, in accordance with a longstanding legal tradition of open justice. Additionally, it has improved UK citizens’ right to freedom of expression – which includes the right to receive as well as impart information and ideas. The public’s increased access to inquiry resources and reporting tools does not necessarily indicate a greater role on the ‘news stage’, but it opens up the possibility for greater public influence on news discourse, and beyond that, political debate.

Citation: Townend, J (2013) ‘Leveson online: A publicly reported inquiry’, Ethical Space, Vol. 10, No. 1.

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