The Media Policy and Industry Group’s research and expertise has informed several parliamentary inquiries in both Houses of Parliament, as well as the Leveson Inquiry, regulatory investigations and reports, and BBC policy-making. 

Press conference media


As specialist adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications over four separate inquiries, Steven Barnett has advised on the scope and content of each inquiry and helped to ensure that each committee’s recommendations and reports were informed by rigorous research. One of only two academics to appear twice in front of the Leveson Inquiry, he was also invited by Lord Justice Leveson to draft a statute on media plurality.

Barnett has advised both Labour and Liberal Democrat ministers and shadow ministers on various areas of media policy, and has submitted research-based evidence to Ofcom and the Competition Commission in its investigations around media ownership. In 2009, he was commissioned by Ofcom to write a paper on media plurality and local democracy, and in 2012, he was appointed to an advisory committee for a new European Parliament initiative aimed at producing a new EU directive on media ownership.

As the BBC’s official historian, Jean Seaton has frequently advised the BBC Trust, the Director General’s Office and BBC productions on matters of history and policy, in order to enhance institutional memory and help guide decision-making. She advised on whether the BBC should publicise a charity appeal for Gaza, finding that the appeal was essentially political and therefore not permissible, and resulted in historical documents being posted on the BBC website to clarify the situation.

When plans were mooted about abolishing the Head of Nations and Regions in Northern Ireland, Seaton wrote to the BBC Trust Chair, Chris Patten, reminding him of the impact of internal changes on the capacity of the regions to report. She submitted a paper to Patten, was part of an internal seminar and set up a ‘round table’ on Fragile Politics in the Age of Austerity that enhanced public understanding of the issues.


We (also) wish to thank our Specialist Adviser, Professor Steven Barnett from the University of Westminster. We have been fortunate to benefit from his expertise throughout the course of this inquiry.

Taken from 'The Leveson Inquiry', House of Lords Select Committee report

Supported by: Leverhulme Trust, AHRC, British Journalism Review, Media Standards Trust, 3WE, Department for International Development, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust