Your Basket is currently empty

Your Bookshelf is empty!

Your Basket is currently empty


A Free and Regulated Press

Defending Coercive Independent Press Regulation

By: Paul Wragg
Media of A Free and Regulated Press
See larger image
Published: 25-11-2021
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 328
ISBN: 9781509943760
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £34.99
Online price : £31.49
Save £3.50 (10.00%)

: (?)

Buying pre-order items

Your pre-order item will usually be shipped on the publishing date of the book.


You will receive an email with a download link for the ebook on the publication date.


You will not be charged for pre-ordered books until they are available to be shipped. Pre-ordered ebooks will not be charged for until they are available for download.

Amending or cancelling your order

For orders that have not been shipped you can usually make changes to pre-orders up to 24 hours before the publishing date.

This book is also available in other formats: View formats

Delivery & Returns

Tell others about this product

Loren Epson

About A Free and Regulated Press

This thought-provoking book provides a systematic, philosophically-grounded reconceptualisation of press freedom and press regulation. In a major departure from orthodox norms, the book argues that press freedom and coercive independent press regulation are not mutually exclusive; that newspapers could be made to compensate their victims, through regulation, without jeopardising their free speech rights; that their perceived public watchdog status does not exempt them; and, ultimately, that mandatory press regulation is not unconstitutional. In doing so, the book questions our most deeply-held, intuitive beliefs about the press and its role in society.

Why do we say the printed press has a duty to act as a public watchdog when there is no legally enforceable apparatus by which to ensure it does? Why does government constantly recommend that the press regulate itself when history shows this model always fails? Why do victims of press malfeasance continue to suffer needlessly?

By deconstructing the accepted view of press freedom and mandatory regulation, this book shows that both are deeply misunderstood. The prevailing notion that the press must serve the public is an empty relic of Victorian ideology that is both philosophically incoherent and legally unjustifiable. The press is obliged to make good, not do good.

Table Of Contents

1. Unity in Press Freedom Theory
I. Introduction
II. The Modern View
III. The Teleological View in its Historical Context
IV. Conclusion
2. Division in Press Regulatory Theory
I. Introduction
II. Press Regulation in Practice
III. The Ideological Divide Over Press Regulation
IV. The Press Reform Debate and its Discontents
V. Conclusion

3. Duty
I. Introduction
II. Duty as a Legal Claim
III. Duty as a Moral Justification
IV. Conclusion
4. Responsibility
I. Introduction
II. Burdens for Benefits
III. Responsibilities Curbing Misuse of Power
IV. Professionalism and the Dualism of Responsibility
V. Conclusion
5. Accountability
I. Introduction
II. Mill's Argument from Truth
III. Liberty, Rationality, and the Press
IV. The Accountability Model Outlined
V. Liberty and the Press
VI. Conclusion

6. Society
I. Introduction
II. The Meaning of Accuracy
III. The Harm of Inaccuracy
IV. The Limits of Accuracy Regulation
V. Conclusion
7. Victims
I. Introduction
II. Content
III. Conduct
IV. Public Interest Expression
V. Conclusion
8. Readers
I. Introduction
II. Consumer Protection
III. Autonomy and Automatons
IV. Conclusion

9. How?
I. Introduction
II. Terminal Failings in the Contractual Model
III. Statutory Regulation, Press Freedom, and Pareidolia
IV. Sanctions
V. Conclusion
10. Why?
I. Introduction
II. Why Regulate the Press?
III. Why Regulate the Press?
IV. Why Not?


“The merits of this volume are numerous. The “liberation” of the press from its public interest obligations promotes purity of doctrine, which can focus individual legal systems even more on the freedom of debate in public affairs. At least as important is the parallel statement that the reader has a responsibility to be properly informed and cannot expect it from a press regulatory body, and that the democratic public sphere is thus made up of the efforts of many participants readers, advertisers, journalists, and publishers. The recognition of the multifaceted nature of the “freedom of the press” is also an important insight, as a result of which it may be worth rethinking some of the theoretical foundations of the freedom of the press. In addition, the volume argues convincingly that “coercive”-that is, statutory-regulation in the field of the press is not incompatible with protecting freedom of the press. The author thus successfully shakes up “dead dogmas”. Mill himself would be proud.” –  András Koltay, National University of Public Service, Budapest, Public Law

“Wragg's forensic examination of the fuzziness surrounding the concept of press freedom makes the book a must-buy for university reading lists.” –  Mark Hanna, Emeritus Fellow, Sheffield University, British Journalism Review

“This is an important book. It is a fine example of the contribution to legal thinking that only academic writers can make. Wragg fulfils his promise to rethink ideas to which the courts and other commentators repeatedly refer, but which they do not explain.” –  Michael Tugendhat, Communications Law

“Wragg's book-impressive in both scope and depth of analysis-is set to make a timely, novel, and much-needed contribution to the international press-regulation literature and to spur important debates about the basic values that undergird our thinking in the field. In a scholarly space in which much of even the best work is rooted in outcome preference or policy particulars, this manuscript offers a refreshing intellectual integrity and tackles the much larger and more important task of examining the core philosophical foundations of our most pressing media-freedom questions. I anxiously await it as a reference that I am sure I will cite with frequency, and I know for certain I am not alone in this assessment.” –  RonNell Andersen Jones, Professor of Law, University of Utah

“In A Free and Regulated Press, Paul Wragg offers an original theoretical perspective that challenges a widely held understanding of media freedom. The book then sets out a fresh rationale for press regulation that is rooted in accountability. This is an important contribution to the literature on media freedom, which will interest media scholars and provide an important reference in future debates on media policy.” –  Jacob Rowbottom, Professor of Law, University of Oxford

“In both its breadth and its depth, this intellectual tour de force of press freedom's history of ideas is unrivalled in legal literature... This book makes a strong and convincing contribution to the debate on freedom of the press and its limits. It will hopefully not only receive the academic praise it deserves, but also the attention of policymakers and practitioners. Anyone working in the area of press freedom and regulation must engage with Paul Wragg's ideas and observations. Failing to do so would be an inexcusable omission.” –  Jan Oster, Assistant Professor of EU Law and Institutions, Universiteit Leiden

“Paul Wragg's fresh and exciting take on the subject refocuses our attention on the harm the press does to victims and the need to find a meaningful regulatory solution.” –  Gavin Phillipson, Professor of Public Law and Human Rights, University of Bristol

Bookmark and Share