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University College London (UCL), Law Faculty Events

Media Freedoms and Media Standards

UCL Faculty of Laws

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (GMT)

Media Freedoms and Media Standards

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UCL Ethics & Law Annual Lecture Ended Free  

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Event Details


Annual Lecture

Media Freedoms and Media Standards

 to be delivered by
Baroness Onora O'Neill

With commentators: 

Gill Phillips, The Guardian
Ian Hargreaves CBE, Professor of Digital Economy at Cardiff Business School and the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies


Chaired by
Prof. Richard Moorhead, UCL Centre for Ethics & Law 

on Wednesday 28th November 2012 at 6pm 



(Registration from 17:30, Lecture will begin at 18:00)
followed by drinks reception



About this talk:
Since the promulgation of the human rights Declarations of the mid twentieth century, ‘freedom of expression’ has become the generic way of referring to the speech rights not only of individuals but of the media. One unintended consequence has been a widespread tendency to favour accounts of media freedoms that focus on rights to speak, write and publish content , but take little account either of the power of the media or of the needs of their audiences. A more plausible approach to the justification of media freedoms would focus on communication rather than on expression of content, would take account of the power and interests of those who communicate, and would take the needs of readers, listeners and viewers seriously. A focus on norms for communication, including norms for adequate communication of truth claims and commitments, can support a stronger and better account of the speech rights and wrongs, both for individuals and for the media.

About the speaker:
Onora O’Neill comes from Northern Ireland and was educated at Oxford and Harvard, where she worked under the late John Rawls. She has taught in the US and the UK, was Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge until 2006 and teaches Philosophy in Cambridge. She was President of the British Academy, the UK National Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences from 2005-9, and chaired the Nuffield Foundation from 1998-2010. She has been a member of the House of Lords since 1999, and is an independent, non-party peer. She has served on Select Committees on Stem Cell Research, BBC Charter Review, Genomic Medicine, Nanotechnology and Food and Behavioural Change.


She writes on ethics and political philosophy, with particular interests in international justice, the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and bioethics. Her books include Faces of Hunger: An Essay on Poverty, Development and Justice (1986), Constructions of Reason: Explorations of Kant's Practical Philosophy (1989), Towards Justice and Virtue (1996) and Bounds of Justice (2000), Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (2002), A Question of Trust (the 2002 Reith Lectures) and Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics (jointly with Neil Manson, 2007). She is currently working on practical judgement and normativity, trust and accountability in public life; and the ethics of communication.

About the discussants: 
Ian Hargreaves CBE is Professor of Digital Economic at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. Professor Hargreaves research encompasses the impact of digital communications technology on journalism, media, intellectual property issues and the creative economy. He led a review of IP for the UK Government, published in May 2010 on "Digital Opportunity: A review of intellectual property and economic growth", whose recommendations have been adopted as the basis of Government Policy. He has contributed to the Leveson Inquiry into culture, practices and ethics of the press. Prior to his academic career, Ian Hargreaves spent almost 30 years working in journalism. 

Gill Philips is a media law specialist. She currently works in-house as the Director of Editorial Legal Services for Guardian News & Media Limited (publishers of the Guardian and Observer newspapers and guardian.co.uk). She advises on a range of content-related matters including defamation, privacy, contempt of court and reporting restrictions. She read History (Part I) and Law (Part II) at Selwyn College Cambridge. She trained at Coward (now Clifford) Chance and spent three years PQE in the litigation department there specialising in commercial / civil litigation. In 1987, she escaped from private practice, joining the BBC as an in-house lawyer dealing with pre and post publication and litigation matters. Between 1996/7 she was an in-house lawyer at News Group Newspapers (The Sun & The News of the World) before moving, in 1997, to the College of Law, where she lectured in Civil and Criminal Litigation and Employment. In 2000, she joined Times Newspapers Limited (publishers of The Times and The Sunday Times) as an in-house lawyer, becoming Head of Litigation. In May 2009, she moved to Guardian News & Media Limited. She was a member of the Ministry of Justice’s Working Group on Libel Reform. She was involved in the Trafigura super injunction case and was a member of the Master of the Rolls Injunction Committee. She has recently been involved in advising the Guardian on phone-hacking, Wikileaks and the Leveson Inquiry. She also sits as a part-time Employment Tribunal Judge and co-authors the College of Law Employment Law handbook.




The UCL Centre for Ethics & Law was established in 2009 to reflect the growing need for enhanced collaboration between academics, practicing lawyers and industry, given the fast changing and increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the global issues lying at the intersection between ethics and regulatory compliance. The work of the Centre is resolutely multi-disciplinary and practice-oriented, focusing on a number of current themes including the professional ethics of in-house and external legal counsel, ethics of risk, anti-corruption, global business and human rights, and distributive justice.


with thanks to our donors Norton Rose, Ernst & Young, Shell, BAE,
AstraZeneca, HSBC and Carillion



Have questions about Media Freedoms and Media Standards? Contact UCL Faculty of Laws
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When & Where

Cruciform Building
Gower Street
WC1E 6AE London
United Kingdom

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (GMT)

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Media Freedoms and Media Standards
London Events Conference
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