Leveson urges new press rules

Lord Justice Leveson has recommended further press regulation, underpinned by law, in his long-awaited report.

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What the newspapers say following the Leveson report

  • Daily Telegraph: We can now add David Cameron’s name to the defenders of press freedom. It’s a lonely and unpopular cause, but seems to have just acquired its single most important champion.
  • Daily Mail: A rotten day for freedom: Yes, he got some things right. But to whitewash the politicians and the police while demanding the Press be shackled betrays dismaying naivety. Worse, it is a tragic blow to liberty and the public's right to know
  • The Times (£): The Inquiry has succeeded in many ways, but a press law would not be right in principle and is not needed.
  • The Mirror: Political bickering over Lord Leveson's doorstop of a report is getting very messy.

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Leveson means 'a state regulator at the heart of the newsroom'

Lord Black of Brentwood, who was a key figure in drawing up proposals for enhanced self-regulation, says Lord Justice Leveson's proposals are "profoundly dangerous" and would put a state regulator "at the very heart of the newsroom".

Lord Black, the executive director of Telegraph, told the House of Lords the press would "rise energetically" to the challenge set by Leveson of toughening up regulation.

But he added:

Could I draw your attention to paragraph 6.16 of volume IV of the report which states that 'the recognition body would be required to determine whether the standards code meets the statutory requirements'.

That would be a state regulator at the very heart of the newsroom.

Would you agree with me that, if the industry can make rapid progress in the task of establishing a new system, such a move would not be just be profoundly dangerous but completely unnecessary?

Rival newspapers unite against Leveson's key idea

The sweeping changes proposed in the Leveson report have united rival newspapers who are against Lord Justice Leveson's key idea. The Editor of the Independent told ITV News the outcome could have been harsher and others have questioned the idea that the broadcasting watchdog should oversee them.

Our UK Editor, Lucy Manning reports.

Prime Minister David Cameron voiced his "serious concerns and misgivings" about legislative action. But Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Leveson's model could be "proportionate and workable". Read more about divisions in the coalition.

News International: No need for statutory regulation

"We are grateful to Lord Justice Leveson for his thorough and comprehensive report, and will be studying its recommendations and comments in detail.

As a company we are keen to play our full part, with others in our industry, in creating a new body that commands the confidence of the public.

We believe that this can be achieved without statutory regulation – and welcome the Prime Minister’s rejection of that proposal.

We accept that a new system should be independent, have a standards code, a means of resolving disputes, the power to demand prominent apologies and the ability to levy heavy fines.

We have spent 18 months reflecting upon these issues and are determined to move on as soon as possible with others in our sector to set up a new body that will ensure British journalism is both responsible and robust.

– Tom Mockridge, News International Chief Executive

Leveson's justification for role of state in press regulation

There is an emerging division in the coalition over the issue of having a statutory under-pinning for a system of press regulation.

The Prime Minister admitted he was "wary of any legislation which has the potential to infringe free speech and a free press".

Here is what Lord Justice Leveson says on the matter:

There are many forms of statute law which already restrict the activities of the press, whether in terms of their organisation, competition or activities up to and including in limited cases what it may or may not be lawful to publish (race hate, for example).

On the face of it, these statutory restrictions are legitimate and proportionate exercises in democratic lawmaking, balancing competing public freedoms and goods ...

But to contend that no statutory reform could be so is to push the argument far beyond any reasonable statement of principle.

Ultimately, there is no necessary connection between statutory underpinning of a regulatory system ... on the one hand, and state censorship on the other, nor in my view is there some sort of slippery slope gliding from the first to the second.

– Leveson report

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Met welcomes Leveson's findings on integrity of officers

The Metropolitan Police Service has called Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry a "healthy and valuable process" and has welcomed its findings.

Although there were incidents that left a perception of cosiness between particular senior officers and some journalists, Lord Justice Leveson found that that did not influence or taint decision-making.

Indeed the Inquiry has said that the integrity of our officers directly involved in the 2006 investigation "shone through" and is not doubted.

– Metropolitan Police statement

The statement also pointed out that Leveson "accepted" the Met's reasons for closing the original 2006 phone-hacking investigation

Press 'must be given a deadline' for action

The press must be set a deadline to implement Lord Justice Leveson's recommendations, according to campaign group Hacked Off.

The group, which represents victims of press intrusion, said the Leveson report proposals were "reasonable and proportionate" and should be implemented as soon as possible.

Former Crimewatch presenter and police officer Jacqui Hames, a victim of phone hacking, read out a statement on behalf of Hacked Off.

Former Crimewatch presenter and police officer Jacqui Hames makes a statement to the press on behalf of the campaign group Hacked Off.

She said: "The judge had rightly condemned this outrageous conduct of the press in the recent years.

"The crucial point is the importance he places on the complete independence of regulation from politicians and from the editors and proprietors, who run the wholly discredited PCC.

"He has proposed a system of voluntary and independent self-regulation.

"The proposals made by the industry do not come close to this ideal.

"What is needed is a regulator which can properly and effectively protect the victims of press misconduct.

"He has recommended that this be backed by legislation to protect the public and the press.

"These proposals are reasonable and proportionate and we call on all parties to get together to implement them as soon as possible.

"The press must be given a deadline, the inquiry is over, now is the time for action."

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