During 2011/12, I’ll be working (among other things) on a project on media content regulation in the UK, with a particular focus on complaints about broadcasting. It’s funded by the British Academy Small Grants scheme, and I’ll share further information once it is up and running. The project includes analysis of decisions (with the help of a research assistant), interviews, and historical/archive work. Here’s the abstract:
Despite the changes brought about in relation to technological convergence, the proliferation of television channels and the availability of content on the Internet, content regulation remains an important issue for much of the UK media. The point of entry for legal scholarship in this area tends to be the overarching statutory controls (e.g. the passing of the Communications Act 2003) or human rights law (the consequences of licensing or prior scrutiny, the impact of controversial decisions on freedom of expression). This study is an attempt to consider, with a particular view to the apparent changes in the media industries and in audience behaviour, the real impact of content regulation in situations where it is more routine (and less dramatic) than the occasional but well-scrutinised times when Parliament assesses principles or a court reviews a particular determination. At a time when diverse laws are under review, this work would contribute, through analysis of decisions in particular, to a debate of wider public interest, informed by scholarship in media/cultural studies.