New governance and audiovisual media policy: The development and accountability of self- and co-regulation in the United Kingdom
This doctoral research operates within the context of the shift from government to new governance regarding audiovisual media policy in the United Kingdom. It is conducted in the context of and due to the substantial changes in both the modes of regulation and the object of the regulation. First, there has been a shift from hierarchical regulation, where binding legislation is imposed by state authorities, to new forms of voluntary governance, such as self-regulation, where non-state actors collectively regulate, and co-regulation, where non-state actors are delegated certain responsibilities in the regulatory process. Second, the media landscape has changed substantially due to technological and commercial developments. This doctoral research is concerned with the regulation of so-called audiovisual media services, which encompass both traditional broadcasting and video on-demand services, the latter offering the option to view content at the users’ convenience and available for delivery at their request via different platforms based on a catalogue of programmes. There are three more distinct research objectives. First, one of the aims is to establish what the wider context of the emergence of self- and coregulation in the UK is and which factors and actors have influenced its development. In addition, these regulatory developments in the UK will be placed in a wider context through comparison with other European countries and policy areas. The second research objective is to determine to what extent there is a reliance on self- and co-regulation in the UK and how important this mode of regulation is in comparison to hierarchical regulation. The third research aim would be to establish the legitimacy of self- and co-regulatory models that are already in place in this policy area. When different definitions of legitimacy are taken into account, it can be summarised that a legitimate regulatory system is dependent on transparent, effective and efficient institutions, informed public debate involving civil society that makes policy-makers accountable, enabled deliberation and participation by all interested stakeholders, and an accountable regulatory system. Thus, this part of the doctoral research will seek to establish the legitimacy of self- and co-regulation in the UK according to these criteria. To summarise, this doctoral research looks at the phenomenon of selfand co-regulation of audiovisual media services in its entirety, looking at why it has developed, how significant it is now and, most importantly, how well it works.