Analysis of Leveson national press coverage suggests 'startling lack of diversity of viewpoints'

British national newspapers published four times as many negative articles about the Leveson Inquiry as they did positive ones, according to a report out today.

The Media Standards Trust has produced a detailed analysis of Leveson coverage from the time the inquiry was announced in July 2011 to the publication of the report in November 2012.

It looked at some 2,016 national press articles totalling 1.1m words.

It found that, of those stories that included what it assessed to be either positive or negative statements about the inquiry, 76 per cent were wholly negative. In contrast, only 18 per cent expressed only positive views while 6 per cent included both positive and negative viewpoints.

The report also claims that newspapers failed to present coverage of proposals for a new regulatory regime presented to Leveson other than that put forward by the newspaper industry itself. The trust’s own submission received only one mention, according to its analysis.

Dr Gordon Neil Ramsay, the report’s author, said: “It is startling to see the lack of diversity of viewpoints in the Leveson coverage, not just in opinion pieces, but also from sources in news articles.

“It is also striking that, while expressing a clear view of their own, few papers gave the public the information necessary to make their own minds up about the future system of regulation.”

The Media Standards Trust has close links to the campaign group Hacked Off and last year came under fire from the Daily Mail for its influence on the Leveson Inquiry.

Its co-founder and former chair Sir David Bell was on the panel of assessors that advised and assisted Lord Justice Leveson through the inquiry.

The report can be viewed in full here.

 

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