Britain’s Cameron warns press regulation must change

November 28, 2012 3:08 pm


The British press is currently self-regulated by the Press Complaints Commission/AFP-File
LONDON, Nov 28 – Prime Minister David Cameron warned on Wednesday that Britain’s current newspaper regulation system is unacceptable, as he received a landmark judicial report into the Rupert Murdoch phone-hacking scandal.

Cameron’s comments came a day before senior judge Brian Leveson is due to publish his findings from a year-long inquiry into press ethics, which are widely expected to include recommendations for statutory regulation.

The prime minister told lawmakers that he hoped the process would lead to “an independent regulatory system” for the press and called for a cross-party consensus, but did not say if he supported new laws.

Cameron set up the Leveson inquiry in July 2011 after the discovery of widespread hacking of voicemails and other illegal practices at Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid, which the Australian-born tycoon then closed down.

“The status quo, I would argue, does not just need updating – the status quo is unacceptable and needs to change,” he told parliament.

“This government set up Leveson because of unacceptable practices in parts of the media and a failed regulatory system.”

The British press is currently self-regulated by the Press Complaints Commission, a body staffed by editors, which critics say is toothless.

Cameron called for lawmakers to work across party lines on the issue.

“What matters most is that we end up with an independent regulatory system that can deliver and in which the public will have confidence.”

The leader of the main opposition Labour party, Ed Miliband, described the inquiry as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity for real change and I hope that this House can make it happen”.

Cameron will give a statement to parliament on Thursday following the publication of Leveson’s report and there will be a parliamentary debate next week on its recommendations.

The prime minister’s Downing Street office received “half a dozen” advance copies of Leveson’s 1,000-page report on Wednesday so that Cameron can prepare his statement, a spokesman told AFP.

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