Media convergence - Communications Committee Contents


The following note on models of self regulation, co-regulation and statutory regulation was provided by Ofcom in evidence to the Leveson inquiry.[99]

Models of self regulation, co-regulation and statutory regulation

We have previously set out for the Inquiry our views on when self regulatory, coregulatory and statutory regulatory models are most effective. In summary our view is:

·  Self regulatory models are industry designed and led, allowing the industry to define an approach best suited to achieving its desired outcomes. Self regulatory systems rely on a strong alignment between the incentives of participants and the wider public interest. Membership is voluntary and there are no formal legal backstops to enforce the rules of the schemes. In the absence of alignment between the interests of the industry and the public interest, self-regulatory regimes are unlikely to prove effective when confronted by circumstances which present a tension between the public interest and the corporate interests of industry players.

·  Co-regulatory models typically provide more industry involvement than statutory regulation and can be particularly effective when there is widespread industry support for the objectives of regulation. They require periodic monitoring by a backstop body to ensure effectiveness and can require the backstop body to carry out enforcement activity. Co-regulation can, like self regulation, also struggle where there are pronounced tensions between commercial interests and the wider public interest, but usually less so than self regulatory models. This is because the existence of the backstop body obliges the participants to find a way of resolving the inherent problems, or else face some kind of sanction from the backstop body.

·  Statutory regulation is usually carried out by an independent body, accountable to Parliament and subject to scrutiny by the National Audit Office. It is usually the most effective model where there is a clear divergence between commercial interests and the wider public interest.

99   Ofcom, 'Submission to the Leveson Inquiry on the future of press regulation: A response to Lord Justice Leveson's request' April 2012. Available online: 

previous page contents

© Parliamentary copyright 2013