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    Monday, 20 July 2009

    Report on privacy and the public interest

    The Oxford University based Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published a report written by Stephen Whittle and Glenda Cooper on the theme on Privacy, Probity and the Public Interest.

    Its an interesting enough read, and its key findings offer a useful precis of the state of the debate at present. Ultimately, the authors recommend that media investigations should be proportionate to what is being investigated and clearly targeted. They conclude that journalists should hold or deploy:
    - a clear sense of what the public interest justification might be
    - some justifying evidence to take an investigation
    forward so that it is not a ‘fishing expedition’
    - the minimum amount of deception
    - very clear rules about when secret recording takes place
    - a clear set of authorisations from within the editorial line management
    chain;
    - a robust rationale for what is eventually put into the public domain
    and how.

    BBC research on taste and standards


    The BBC has published the report of research conducted over the last year into public attitudes to morality, values and behaviour in UK broadcasting. One strand of the underpinning work was undertaken by Prof. Sonia Livingstone of the LSE Media Department.

    The report detailed sixteen key findings, including the following:
    - standards of morality, values and behaviour in the media in particular are
    not a top-of-mind issue for the majority of the public.
    - the BBC overall performs well in the audience's perceptions of standards
    of morality, values and behaviour, compared; the audience also has higher expectations of the BBC.
    - in general terms, the public do not want increased censorship or
    regulation
    - a significant proportion of the audience have various
    concerns about standards of morality, values and behaviour in the media
    as a whole, including newspapers, magazines, broadcasting and online
    content.
    - there is little public consensus or agreement about what constitutes
    offence
    - context in which potentially offensive content is placed is of
    paramount importance to audiences
    - sexual content on television and radio was a matter of relatively low
    concern for audiences.

    Inevitably, press coverage of the publication of the report focused on specific issues, including swearing and the 'Sachsgate' angle (1,2, 3)
    * Commentoon sourced at: Women's eNews

    Thursday, 9 July 2009

    Nick 'Harry Potter' Davies triumphs over the dark arts

    The Guardian yesterday broke a tremendous follow-up to the Operation Motorman and Goodman hacking and blagging scandals with the disclosure of previously unseen data arising from one of the earlier investigations. There is much comment on the Guardian webpages (1,2, 3), and elsewhere. Cravenly (?), at the time of writing neither TimesOnline, nor the Sun was carrying the story (at least on their first pages). SkyNews did have it. Does this say anything about the relative interest in 'proper' news of the three Murdoch platforms?

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