Newspapers the day after the coalition.

British politics, the media, and the deep distrust with which both are being treated following the phone-hacking scandal will form the subject of the latest in a compelling series of public policy seminars this Friday.

Increasingly, not least since the phone hacking scandal in the summer, the relationship has come to be seen by many as too cosy and even corrupt.

The talk, entitled “Politics and the Media: A Case of British Exceptionalism”, will be given by William Horsley, who is a former BBC foreign correspondent and now International Director of the Centre for Freedom of the Media; a Sheffield based institution that studies issues of media freedom and standards. It will be held in the Department of Engineering, Trumpington Street, Cambridge from 1pm to 2pm.

It is one in a series of seminars which are open to all and are being run by Cambridge Public Policy, which aims to build closer links between academic research and policy-making. Two further seminars will take place on 4 November and 11 November, and a separate lecture will be given by the Michael Gove (MP and Secretary of State for Education) on 24 November.

The seminar series brings together a range of thinkers and researchers from different disciplines and asks them to discuss the policy implications of their work. Drawing on his long experience in the media, Mr Horsley will address the question of its difficult relationship with politicians.

Increasingly, not least since the hacking scandal in the summer, that relationship has come to be seen by many as too cosy and, arguably, even corrupt. Next month Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into phone hacking and media standards is due to begin at the high court in London, having been ordered by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in the wake of the scandal.

The seminar will address how the relationship between politics and the media underlying this renders the British media subject of ongoing fascination for the rest of the world. The results of the Leveson inquiry for the regulation of the media are unlikely to be known for a year – but Horsley will argue that they should be guided by the need to uphold the British tradition of free speech which has helped to define its media to date.

The 4 November seminar will see Diana Garnham, Chief Executive of the Science Council, explore the different between communications and public affairs work in a presentation entitled: “Influencing Science Policy: Headlines Alone Are Not Enough”. The talk will address the need for the scientific community to understand the different environments of the media, Parliament, Whitehall and public communication, and promises to highlight campaigns for public communication of science that led to good headlines, but little by way of resultant policy-making.

The 11 November talk will be given by Helen Kersley, who heads the New Economics Foundation’s “Valuing What Matters” team. Her talk is entitled: “How A Broader Appreciation of Value Can Contribute to Better Policy-making”.

Mr Gove will meanwhile be giving the second of two high-profile lectures arranged by Cambridge Public Policy for the current term. He will be speaking on “The Meaning of Liberal Learning” at 6pm on November 24 in the Faculty of Law, Lecture Theatre LG17, 10 West Road, Cambridge.

Cambridge Public Policy is leading the development of new Master’s degree in Public Policy and is supported by the Centre for Science and Policy (http://www.csap.cam.ac.uk) and the Department of Politics and International Studies (http://www.polis.cam.ac.uk/).

For further information about Cambridge Public Policy, please contact Miranda Gomperts, Email: mg129@cam.ac.uk 


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