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Regulation of the Mirror
Livingstone and Lunt
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 Mirror 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, encouraging instead a self-regulatory approach in which newspapers police their own editorial content via the voluntary implementation of their editors code of conduct.
IPSO’s regulatory code protects, in the main, vulnerable members of society, providing guidance to prevent editorial inaccuracies, privacy infringement, harassment of minors or court reportage that might identify vulnerable victims.
The Mirror, by and large, adheres to this lightweight regulatory code. The high editorial standards of the Mirror, however, are perhaps more heavily influenced by audience and advertiser based concerns than those of IPSO, with the Mirror policing content in a way that doesn’t challenge the morals its C1C2D core readership.
Editorial decisions, as a result of this readership, tend to err on the side of safety: less so perhaps than the editorial standards enacted by the quality press, but the Mirror’s left-leaning editorial bias ensures that the paper takes a far more conservative approach to editorial decisions than other tabloid titles.
Consumer based regulation
A regulatory system in which content regulation is largely devolved to audiences. This gives media makers the freedom to produce whatever content they want and to make those products that audiences want to consume.
Media terminology used
Livingstone and Lunt suggest that the principle function of the independent bodies that regulate the UK's media is to protect children and other vulnerable groups from the harmful affects of media content. The limited protections offered to wider audiences by these bodies is widely criticized.
A consumer-oriented regulatory system relies upon media regulators to control their own output in the absence of strict government controls.