Media Regulation

 

The media has a right and duty to inform the general public of current affairs and also to entertain them. On the other hand the general public also has a right to privacy and the right to receive information which is accurate and entertainment which is suitable for various audiences.

In the UK there are organisations which regulate the content of the medias, to ensure the material is accurate and suitable for all audiences, or labelled in such a way that audiences are able to determine its suitability for the general public.

Useful Information

Routes in

Media regulation employees normally enter the field having gained experience elsewhere in the media industry. It is fairly rare to enter the profession immediately after graduation.

Internships and work experience

As entrants into media regulation often come from other backgrounds consider gaining work experience within advertising, television, broadcasting, journalism, film or radio. This will help you develop a good understanding of the sector before moving into the appropriate regulation area.

Ofcom offers a graduate training programme, internships, and apprenticeships.

As formal work experience placements are rare, sending a speculative application to your preferred media regulator can be a positive step.

Graduate jobs

Roles are often advertised on the media regulation company's websites, however due to the small number of media regulation companies these roles appear infrequently and competition is high. In this situation experience is a benefit. Because of this it is fairly unusual for a recent graduate to gain a job in media regulations.

Some regulation companies do not employ people from within the sector; for example, the Press Complaints Commission do not employ former journalists to ensure they remain free from bias or outside influence.

LSE Careers has compiled a list of graduate training schemes acrossthe AMMP sector for 2011 starts. See Graduate Training Schemes 2011 (pdf) (updated November 2011).

Routes into media regulation links

Job roles

Media regulation companies set rules and codes of practice by which media companies must comply. These rules exist to protect the general public from obscene, offensive and inaccurate content, information and services being provided by media companies. These rules also work to enable the media to free speech.

Within media regulations you may work for a company which specialises in media, journalism, telecoms, radio, advertising, magazines or broadcasting. There are a range of roles available in media regulation, including:

Content and standards

Responsibilities include implementing standards and licensing regulation within your field and ensuring the effective delivery of your field's services. Within broadcasting you'd ensure the effective delivery of public service broadcasting via terrestrial or on demand television broadcasters. You would also be responsible for licensing, regulating and setting standards in community, local and national radio.

Policy and business development

Responsibilities include writing, updating policies and developing your company's services. For example, within film you'd be in charge of the classification policy and improvement of classification services.

Economic regulation

Ensuring a good choice of services within your field for the general public and businesses is part of this role. For example, within telecoms your role would be to ensure competitive phone deals exist among providers.

Tasks also include inviting companies to introduce new deals and incentives to customers to ensure sufficient competition. If working in broadcasting you would evaluate the different markets and as a result of findings ensure good competition by establishing and improving broadcasting rules.

External affairs

An external affairs employee would keep abreast of changing international law which may affect their company by liaising with international partners. A secretariat member provides administration assistance, corporate planning, information, direction and advice on governance. For example, changing internet regulation and censorship rules in the EU would have an effect on the way in which a company such as the Internet Watch Foundation would deal with potentially illegal on-line material.

Public affairs

A public affairs team are responsible for investigating specific matters by organising select committees to discuss and advise. They also handle correspondence and questions from MPs by liaising and building relationships with parliament members.

Communications

Deal directly with the media, customers and the public and manage publicity. For example, the Press Complaints Commission regularly deal with high profile customers who have a complaint about how they have been portrayed in the press. Some cases may prove particularly newsworthy requiring the communications team to manage released information.

Examiners

An examiner within film classification views media material and recommend a category, cuts or other appropriate courses of action, applying their understanding and background in film or video games. A good understanding of child development and the effects inappropriate material can have on children is important. Read our case study about a film examiner at the BBFC.

Strategy and market progress

This team are responsible for monitoring the regulatory changes needed in the future and also for strategic thinking. They ensure the company has a clear approach to regulation including examining and gaining a good understanding of strategies within relevant media and communications companies. Tasks include evaluating and ensuring the performance of the company whilst keeping abreast of improvements to global, local and national policies in order to influence other external policies.

Audit

This role focuses on how organisations manage personal data and comply with the Data Protection Act and other related legislation. Responsibilities include examining and assessing policies and procedures of organisations advising on good practice for the future.

Data protection

Ensures the Data Protection Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations are adhered to. Also ensures the general public's data and information is kept secret, giving advice to companies about their rights and obligations. From time to time organisations face personal data being exposed. The data protection team help organisations manage this crisis and work with them to ensure it does not happen again.