Gemma Horton

School of Journalism, Media and Communication

Impact Fellow for Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM)

Dr Gemma Horton
Profile picture of Dr Gemma Horton

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Gemma Horton
School of Journalism, Media and Communication
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

Gemma is the Impact Fellow for the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) at the School of Journalism, Media and Communication,  University of Sheffield. She started the position in September 2022. She is also the Assistant Editor for the European Journal of Communication. From 2019-2022, she was a University Teacher in the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool where she taught on a range of topics including media freedom and human rights. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). She has also worked as a Research Assistant for CFOM. Her work as a research assistant has involved her working on a number of projects. The first project was commissioned by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) and involved ‘Examining the impact of IPSO on Editorial Standards and Complaints’ Handling for the press regulator in the UK.’ She also worked on the ‘Building an African media network with the African Media Initiative’ project.

She gained her PhD from the School of Journalism, Media and Communication at the University of Sheffield in January 2020. Prior to that, she graduated with an MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield in 2017 and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of York in 2015. She also achieved a Grade A in her NCTJ Essential Media Law and Regulation exam and her Court Reporting exam. She has had extensive work experience in national magazines and news outlets, such as Radio Times, Closer, heat and Press Association. It was her experience at these publications that influenced her PhD. Gemma’s PhD research focused on the right to privacy of celebrities and how this is balanced with freedom of expression. It explored how celebrities’ privacy rights are protected in law and ethical codes in the UK, with a particular focus on whether anything has changed since the Leveson Inquiry. She adopted a comparative legal analysis for her research, comparing the laws of the UK to the laws of France and the US, alongside using qualitative methods, such as interviews and document analysis. Since then, her work has been published in Communications Law and the Journal of Media Law.


LLB (University of York); MA, PhD (University of Sheffield)

Research interests

Gemma’s research focuses on media freedom. She is particularly interested in the media self-regulatory landscape following the conclusion of the Leveson Inquiry and the impact that this has had on the journalism landscape. She also focuses on how the law balances the right to privacy against freedom of expression in the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions, including the United States, and through examining judgments from the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.


Journal articles

Professional activities and memberships