Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Editors 'unanimous' over Leveson

Lord Justice Leveson has proposed press regulation should have statutory underpinning

National newspaper editors have said that they will put in place the broad proposals of the Leveson Inquiry - apart from the call for statutory underpinning.

A statement issued on behalf of the editors said: "The editors of all national newspapers met yesterday and unanimously agreed to start putting in place the broad proposals - save the statutory underpinning - for the independent self-regulatory system laid out by Lord Justice Leveson.

"Lord Hunt and Lord Black will report back to the Government very shortly in detail on how the industry proposes to implement the Leveson plan."

The editors met on Wednesday to discuss joint efforts to produce proposals sufficiently strong to see off demands for a watchdog backed by law.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller set a two-day deadline for a timetable of action when she met senior Fleet Street figures in Downing Street on Monday.

Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into press ethics, prompted by the phone-hacking scandal, recommended a statutory body to oversee a beefed-up watchdog.

Prime Minister David Cameron is reluctant to take that step, warning it could pose a future threat to free speech, but has told the industry it must act fast to convince politicians and the public that it is not necessary.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and a large number of Conservative MPs are united with victims of press abuses and other campaigners in demanding full implementation.

Campaign group Hacked Off has said the Prime Minister should resist any temptation to remove the "heart and soul" of the Leveson report's recommendations.

The group attacked the ideas put forward after Mr Cameron met the national newspaper editors and industry figures on Monday, warning that watering down Lord Justice Leveson's recommendations would make a "charade" of the process.

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