chapter  18
Changing media
Pages 14

A description of recent history and the debate on control of the media sets the scenefor later developments. Curran and Seaton (1991) suggest that debate on mediareform is polarised into paternalists and libertarians. Libertarians wish to minimise restraints on freedom of expression, and believe that the public should have a greater right to know how public body decisions are made. Sarah Tisdall was jailed for leaking information to the Guardian in 1984, although her crime embarrassed the government about the plans to site Cruise missiles in England rather than endangering the country’s defence. Election promises by the Labour Party have not been fulfilled by the Labour government’s Freedom of Information Bill, which, it has been argued, restricts information more than under previous Tory law. Debates on privacy law have usually arisen over intrusion by the press into a celebrity’s private life, but no government has been willing to dismantle the self-regulation of the press and take on a regulatory function itself.