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Media Studies ANALYSE THE ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST TIGHTER CONTROL OF THE BRITISH PRESS When looking at the issue of whether or not the control of the British press should be tightened or not, there are many different arguments, both for and against. In this essay, I will discuss issues for both sides of the argument and make a personal conclusion at the end. Some people believe that giving the press tighter control will restrict offences caused to individual people. If the press were to make up a story that was not 100% true, and print it in a paper, certain individuals may be upset and the paper/editor could get in trouble and accused of libel. Libel is a published false statement damaging to a person's reputation: a false and defamatory written statement. An example of a case where a certain individual got offended was when it was published that Elton John had been sexually intimate with an underage boy. These claims turned out to be untrue and Elton John sued the newspaper that printed this.


The paper then published the names and photographs of 50 people it claimed had committed child sex offences, and promised: 'we pledge we will pursue our campaign until we have named and shamed every paedophile in Britain. The paper produced figures suggesting 88% of British people thought that they should be told if a paedophile was living in their area. It also provided a website on which parents could use an interactive map to find their local paedophiles. It asked readers to report any convicted child abusers living within their area. From Plymouth to Portsmouth, Manchester and London, wrongly identified men and known paedophiles found themselves being hounded by mobs of up to 300 people. The crowds, 40 of which were later charged with offences, smashed windows, torched cars and forced five families, wrongly accused of harbouring sex offenders, out of their homes. A suspected paedophile in Southampton shot himself dead because neighbours had confused 'paediatrician' with 'paedophile'. If there had been tighter control of the British Press this widespread moral panic would not have occurred, this can be seen as good or bad because during it, paedophiles were arrested.


Preventing the public from being misled by some statement or action of an individual or organisation Most members of the public are not aware of the above and feel that all information printed should be for the public interest. To conclude, after looking at the different arguments both for and against the control of the British press being tightened, I think that it should be tightened. In my opinion, most of the cases that back up that the control should be tightened illustrate cases of sadness and intrusion into people's private lives e.g. Gordon Brown. I also think that if the press get hold of a piece of information, they can build up the fear anger for something, so much that it causes more negative outcomes than positive e.g. paedophiles in Britain. I also think that the arguments for the control not to be tightened are a lot weaker than those for the tightening. I think more people would be sheltered from the mass media and there wouldn't be as much intrusion into peoples lives. In my opinion I think this would be better.

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