This research aims to analyse the media coverage of the News of the World phone hacking scandal. This scandal which led to the setting up of the Leveson inquiry, stirred up a debate on the role of journalism in contemporary society. Subjects of this debate include issues of public trust, press freedom, privacy, media ownership and arguments bordering on whether or not the news media need more regulation, if at all.
Many of these arguments are based on lay and specialist normative theories of the media, and are mainly inspired by the idea that the media is entrusted with information power and as such ought to be socially responsible. This study will explore the different arguments and issues that dominated this debate during the coverage of the phone-hacking scandal (hackgate) and the Leveson inquiry. While there is a good number of articles and news reports on the debate, there is still a dearth of scholarly literature on these arguments, much less an analysis of how the subjects of the debate were represented by the media. This study aspires to fill that gap using a combination of content and discourse analyses.
My study sample shall be the textual content of the Guardian and the BBC news coverage of the scandal. This research may likely reveal that both media gave priority attention to the subject of regulating press behaviour with very little attention paid to the issue of media ownership concentration. The study may contest that this is a dangerous trend because with a high level of media ownership concentration, proprietors may continue to wield too much influence on both politicians and the regulator and prevent them from making decisions that could guarantee an effective press regulatory system.
Supervisor: Dr. Iñaki Garcia-Blanco
The media and democracy, media representation, press regulation, media ethics, and media power.
BA English and literary Studies (University of Calabar, Nigeria)
MA International Journalism (Cardiff University, Wales, UK)