Trust calls for independent media regulator

One of the UK’s most well known charitable trusts has called for a global independent media regulator, with “substantial, non-statutory powers.”

Better Journalism in the Digital Age, a report written by Carnegie UK Trust fellow Blair Jenkins, proposes a number of measures in response to the Leveson Inquiry into media standards.

Jenkins said an independent regulator is needed to investigate unethical behaviour and impose significant sanctions and fines in the UK.

The report cites widespread dissatisfaction in the UK; for example, that the chair of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is the editor of one of Britain’s best selling newspapers, Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail.

Jenkins, who is former head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland, made seven recommendations in the report. These included the adoption of a new universal, industry-wide code of conduct by all journalists and news organisations; new investment from civil society organisations to help fund new and innovative journalism initiatives; and a renewed emphasis on journalism training.

Jenkins said he would also like to see further and wider discussion on media ethics, and he also called for more availability and take-up of high-speed broadband access, “to ensure that everyone has access to a wide range of digital news services and participatory media.”

Carnegie UK said it will continue to advance the ideas and recommendations in the report throughout 2012 and would like to hear from the public about their views on media standards.