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Professor Julian Petley
Honorary Professor - SPS

Gaskell Building 164

Research area(s)

  • media policy and regulation

Research Interests

Julian' s research interests mirror his teaching interests, namely media policy and regulation, and British cinema and television.. He has written very widely about censorship in its various forms and in different media as a form of regulation, but he has always been at pains to point out that censorship is not simply a matter of laws and rules which limit certain forms of expression, but also include political and economic factors as well, not least market forces and proprietorial power and influence. Furthermore, he has consistently argued that certain forms of regulation, namely those which attempt to regulate into the media desirable qualities such as diversity and public accountability, actually increase media freedom in the broad sense of the word. These are central themes of his published work and, both as an academic and a member of various civil society groups, he has been heavily involved in trying to shape government policy by making research-based submissions to the consultations preceding the 1990 Broadcasting Act and the 2003 Communications Act, as well as to the various enquiries into press self-regulation conducted by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. He also gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.

His work argues strongly against the ‘de-regulation’ of public service broadcasting, pointing out that this is actually a process of ‘re-regulation’ in which regulations designed to protect the public interest are replaced by ones designed to promote corporate interests. His work on public service broadcasting led him to be asked to join the advisory committee of the Commission into Public Service Broadcasting in the 21st Century, chaired by Lord Puttnam. At the same time, his work argues that the present system of ‘self-regulation’ of the press serves only the interests of newspapers, their editors and owners, and needs to be replaced by a system which is genuinely independent of the press and operates above all in the public’s interest. As such, Julian' s work engages constantly with matters of wide and immediate public concern, and he has been heavily involved in trying to ensure that Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals on the self-regulation of the press are put into effect. 

Julian also has a strong and long-standing interest in British cinema and television, and is the principal editor of the Journal of British Cinema and Television.

Research links

Co-author network

Research group(s)

  • SMRC