Long-awaited report released at 1.30pm this afternoon
Lord Justice Leveson has finally released his proposals for regulation of the press, 11 months after hearings began in response to phone-hacking allegations at the News of the World.
His report has recommended a tougher form of press-self regulation backed by legislation. He says this will help protect the rights of victims.
Leveson said the press had ‘wreaked havoc in the lives of innocent people’ for many decades and that the relationship between politicians and the press in recent years had been ‘damaging’.
The 2,000 page report says the press needs to create a new and tough regulator to replace the PCC, but that this needed to be backed by legislation, as it was ineffective in the past without this.
He said: ‘The press has to be accountable to the public in whose interests it claims to be acting and must show respect for the rights of others.
‘It should not be acceptable that it uses its voice, power, and authority to undermine the ability of society to require that regulation is not a free for all, to be ignored with impunity.
‘The answer to the question who guards the guardians, should not be ‘no-one’.’
A self-regulatory body which was independent of serving editors, but backed by legislation would provide a legal duty on the government to protect press freedom, Leveson said.
He said: ‘It would provide an independent process to recognise the new self-regulatory body and reassure the public that the basic requirements of independence and effectiveness were met and continue to be met; in the report, I recommend that this is done by Ofcom.’ He felt Ofcom should regulate titles who refused to join the new body.
Leveson rejected a press-led proposal which asked to enforce standards through contracts, saying he didn’t understand how that could be independent.
In terms of police corruption, Leveson said there had been ‘troubling evidence’ in relation to the actions of some police officers – but the idea that there was widespread corruption was untrue.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Coalition deputy Nick Clegg will both make separate statements this afternoon after failing to agree to a joint government response to the Inquiry’s findings.
The Leveson Inquiry ran for eight months from November last year, taking evidence from politicians, journalists and victims of media intrusion including celebrities and those questioned over crimes.
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