The Leveson Inquiry has finally published its final report on the state of the UK press, almost a year and a half after details of phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World threw the country into chaos.You can read the report in full online, but be warned, at almost 2,000 pages, it may take you a while. Journalists have complained that the printed report is so heavy it is difficult to carry.
- The current system for press standards will be scrapped, with a new body, underpinned by government legislation, set up. Publishers will not have to join this group but will be viewed unfavorably by the courts if they don’t. It should be able to issue fines of up to £1 million ($1.6 million).
- Police and politicians are to keep records of their contact with the press, in a bid to end “off the record” talks and covert relationships.
Ultimately, the inquiry’s final report appears to be an attempt by its head, Lord Justice Leveson, to placate all sides — in particular calling for an independent body with rights enshrined in law. However, that appears to be falling apart already, as Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated he will not back legislation for a new press body.
“I’m not convinced at this stage that statute is necessary to achieve Lord Justice Leveson’s objectives,” he said today in Parliament, immediately earning the wrath of phone-hacking victim and vocal press critic Hugh Grant.
Ultimately, while many observers seem fairly satisfied with the result, others seem a little underwhelmed for an inquiry that took months and thought to have cost at least £6 million ($9.6 million).
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