Royal Commission on the Press

There have been three Royal Commissions on the Press (RCP) in the United Kingdom: 1947 to 1949, 1961 to 1962, and 1974 to 1977. The Commissions were established because of concerns about press standards and concentration of ownership. Their recommendations concentrated on self-regulated reform and antimonopoly measures and are regarded as merely having reinforced the status quo. This conservatism resulted largely from the strong influence of the liberal tradition, with its emphasis on the protection of the press from state interference. Moreover, governments, fearing antagonizing the press, failed to enact the more reformist recommendations.

Little has changed since then; despite later inquiries examining the press and private bills calling for legislation, the press is still, unlike broadcasting, largely self-regulated. Furthermore, the RCPs have had little impact ...

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