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Representation of the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry: an analysis of the British Press coverage of the debate that arose from the scandal

Ogbebor, Binakuromo 2018. Representation of the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry: an analysis of the British Press coverage of the debate that arose from the scandal. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The News of the World phone hacking scandal can be described as one of the biggest media scandals in contemporary times. The scandal, which resulted in the closure of a newspaper that had existed for 168 years, led to the setting up of the Leveson Inquiry and stirred up a debate on the role journalism plays and is expected to play in a democratic society. This thesis examines the representation of the debate that arose from the phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry. My central research question is “how did the British press cover the debate that arose from the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry, and what is the implication of their manner of coverage for democracy?” Most of the arguments on the media’s role in a democratic society are premised on normative theories of the press. The normative theories explored in this study are the neoliberal variant of the libertarian theory and the ideology of social democracy. The framework for my analysis includes the notion of paradigm repair and the public sphere concept. Though numerous studies have been carried out on how the media represent debates on diverse areas of policy, there is still a dearth of scholarly literature on how the press cover debates on themselves. This study fills that gap using content analysis and some principles from critical discourse analyses. My study sample comprises news articles on the debate that followed the News of the World phone hacking scandal in six of the top ten British national newspapers - Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror and Sun; and covers the period from the 14th of November 2011 (when hearing began at the Leveson Inquiry) to the 14th of November 2013 (the aftermath of the Privy Council’s approval of a royal charter on press regulation). This two-year period falls within the time frame when media coverage of the journalism debate was at its peak. Based on my findings, I argue that for democracy to thrive, the public needs to play a greater and more pragmatic role in ensuring a democratic public sphere.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 January 2018
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2018 10:12
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/107927

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