New polling from Kantar Public shows a large majority favour the creation of an independent regulator to clean up standards in Britain’s newspaper industry

On a day when it was announced that the Press Complaints Commission will shut down after 21 years, new polling from Kantar Public shows the public to be strongly in favour of the creation of an independent regulator and supportive of the broad remit adopted by the Leveson enquiry.

Back in July 2011, in the immediate wake of Rupert Murdoch’s decision to close the News of the World, we asked a selection of questions relating to press freedom and the potential impact the scandal might have on the British media. At the time public anger was running high and we were not surprised to find that a wide majority (87%) favoured the creation of an independent regulator to clean up standards in the newspaper industry.

Asking the same question seven months down the line, demand for increased regulation remains very strong with 83% still in favour of an independent regulator. So, where we might have expected to see signs of public fatigue half a year on from some of the biggest revelations, what we may actually be witnessing is a pronounced and sustained shift in public attitudes towards how the media in Britain should be regulated.

Interestingly only a third of people questioned (31%) say they support a completely free press in which the media can publish stories about the private lives of individuals without being subject to court orders. With that said, there was a sense of wariness as to what increased regulation might entail with two thirds (64%) of those questioned saying they would not want the illegal behaviour of a few journalists to be used as an excuse to reduce press freedom.

Still, the vast majority were in favour of the Leveson enquiries broad remit with 79% saying it should be looking into the conduct of all newspapers, rather than just those implicated in the initial round of revelations about phone hacking.

The press release follows.

For more information on this or our other polling services please contact:
Dan Oseman
Kantar Public Research Executive
0207 656 5760

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