More than three quarters of public want strict regulation of the press

Published Thu 24 May 2012
New polling shows public want tighter limits on media ownership

As the Leveson Inquiry continues its works, new polling commissioned by the think tank IPPR shows a very strong public mood for strict regulation of the press and for limits on the proportion of the media that any one individual or company can own. The polling also indicates strong public preference for media owners to be resident full- time in the UK and to be full UK tax payers.


Nearly two thirds of respondents (62 per cent) want self regulation of the press through the Press Complaints Commission to be replaced by a legally-established body and 94 per cent of those who want some form of regulation (81%) want press regulation to be 'very' or 'fairly' strict.


Around three quarters of respondents (73 per cent) support limits on the overall proportion of the UK media a single person or company can own, with a similar number (76 per cent) wanting fixed limits on newspaper ownership and 62 per cent of these people want the number of newspapers a single owner can own to be two or less.


There is strong support for keeping (45 per cent) or strengthening (29 per cent) the impartiality rules governing broadcasters, and also support for extending these rules to video content that resembles TV news (55 per cent).


More than eight out of ten (84 per cent) of respondents supported the idea that newspapers should be required to print a correction and/or apology for incorrect stories on the same page as that story appeared, even if it is the front page, and nearly half (48 per cent) think newspapers have too much power over politicians.


The BBC as a publicly funded broadcasting service is strongly supported (by 57 per cent of respondents).


Nick Pearce, Director of IPPR, said:


"Once the Leveson Inquiry has completed its work and made its recommendations, politicians will have to make some difficult decisions on the shape and reach of media policy. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the hacking scandal and other revelations, this polling shows that the public mood has hardened significantly towards tighter regulation of media standards and more controls on media ownership. Understanding this public appetite for change, while ensuring that the UK has a free, vibrant and economically viable media, will be the challenge of the months ahead."


The polling shows stronger support for regulation and controls among older age groups (98 per cent of +60s who want regulation support very strict or fairly strict press regulation, compared with 83 per cent in the 18-24 age group; 85 per cent of over sixties want limits on media ownership compared with 52 per cent in the younger age group). There was a marked similarity of views between Labour and Conservative voters, but Liberal Democrats are more likely to favour limits on media ownership (90 per cent compared with 77 per cent Conservative and 73 per cent Labour) and are most concerned that the media have too much power over politicians (67 per cent compared with 49 and 48 per cent for Conservatives and Labour).


Notes to Editors


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,705 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th - 21st May 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


The survey was conducted using an online interview administered members of the YouGov Plc GB panel of 185,000+ individuals who have agreed to take part in surveys. An email was sent to panellists selected at random from the base sample according to the sample definition, inviting them to take part in the survey and providing a link to the survey. (The sample definition could be "GB adult population" or a subset such as "GB adult females"). YouGov Plc normally achieves a response rate of between 35% and 50% to surveys however this does vary dependent upon the subject matter, complexity and length of the questionnaire. The responding sample is weighted to the profile of the sample definition to provide a representative reporting sample. The profile is normally derived from census data or, if not available from the census, from industry accepted data.


The full results of the poll are published on-line by IPPR at:


The polling was carried out as part of IPPR's Next Generation Media Policy project. For more see:




Richard Darlington, 07525 481 602,


Tim Finch, 07595 920 899,


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