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Media Theory Revision Guide

All A level theorists covered alongside revision summaries and exam practise exercises.




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The Times

Regulation of the Times

Livingstone and Lunt

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The regulation of the UK press exemplifies what Livingstone and Lunt would call a ‘consumer-based’ regulatory approach. Officially regulated by the independent print regulator IPSO, the Times is potentially subject to fines of up to £1 million if it contravenes IPSO’s regulatory code.

In reality, IPSO has never issued any financial penalties and encourages newspapers to self-regulate. IPSO’s regulatory code protects, in the main, vulnerable members of society and gives advisory guidance relating to accuracy, privacy, harassment, contempt of court and reporting that involves vulnerable subjects. 

We might argue that the regulation of the Times is more firmly directed by audience and advertiser based concerns: its content is shaped in a way that doesn’t overly challenge the moral sensibilities of its ABC1 readership or the advertising revenues produced as a result of that readership. 

Editorial decisions tend to err on the side of safety. The Times reputation as a trusted news gathering organisation is central to the value of its brand - the production of sustained content that challenged that identity would be commercially problematic.

Consumer based regulation


Media terminology used

Vulnerable audiences

Livingstone & Lunt suggest that the principle function of the independent bodies who regulate the UK's media is to protect children and other vulnerable groups from the effects of harmful content.


Self-regulation devolves regulatory decisions to industry practitioners. Self-regulation means that producers assume responsibility for policing/gatekeeping content they make and broadcast.

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