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Media regulation meets mainstream opinion

Research into the short-comings of the press in the face of regulation has never been more widely debated - and Brunel's has helped to inform mainstream opinion.

Professor Julian Petley has seen his work become a cornerstone of recommendations made by the Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press.

Sparked by initial studies into the effects of deregulation of UK television broadcasting, Prof Petley extended his work to encompass newspapers. Two key areas were whether the oft-repeated claim that they are a 'Fourth Estate' holds water and whether the Press Complaints Commission worked as a form of self-regulation.

He concluded that a press regulated solely by market forces (and with a 'regulator' acting more as a complaints mediation service) would result in an oligopoly.

His analysis was initially submitted to Leveson in written evidence and Prof Petley was subsequently asked by the inquiry to give oral evidence – a mark of how widely accepted his views are now becoming.

Post-inquiry, he has intervened extensively in the debate around how best to implement the proposals and remains a co-chair of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom as well as a founder member of Hacked Off and the Media Reform Coalition.