The Freedom of The Press or The Fear Factor? Analysing Political Decisions and Non-Decisions in British Media Policy 1990-2012

Lars W Nord, Torbjörn von Krogh


The four British Prime Ministers giving testimony to the Leveson Inquiry choose not to confront the media on issues of large-scale media abuse. “A missed opportunity”, John Major said. “I think you certainly do fear the power being directed at you”, Tony Blair declared. “We had no mandate”, Gordon Brown asserted. The relationship between the media and politicians “has become too close”, David Cameron stated. How did this closeness come about? This article discusses the political actors’ decisions and non-decisions with regard to possible media policy strategies in Britain during four different Prime Ministers in the period between 1990 and 2012. The four cases examine media policy goals, values, contexts and alternatives offered for every Prime Minister. Their testimonies to the Leveson Inquiry are used for a comparison of media policy decision strategies during the examined period.


media policy, (non) decision-making, Leveson Inquiry, Britain, rational choice, freedom of the press, fear of the press

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