British newspapers agree to new Leveson report regulator, but buck statutory backing

Dec 06 2012, 11:52 IST
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SummaryNewspapers agreed to create independent press regulator as recommended by Leveson.

Britain's newspapers agreed to create an independent press regulator as recommended by the Leveson report, but refused to commit to its controversial proposal for statutory backing.

Tabloid and broadsheet editors met in London for a breakfast meeting yesterday and agreed to 40 of judge Brian Leveson's 47 proposals, clearing the path for the creation of a regulator able to issue fines of up to USD 1.6 million.

But the editors refused to sign up to seven of the report's proposals, which called for a statutory body to audit the regulator, according to those present at the meeting.

Chris Blackhurst, the editor of the Independent, called the spirit of cooperation "really quite remarkable".

"I've never seen anything like it in my time as a journalist, he told Radio 4's The Media Show. "We are all used to the sort of annual fisticuffs at press awards, and all the shouting matches, and we all hate each other."

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday warned editors to set up a fresh watchdog quickly or face new laws after the judge-led enquiry condemned decades of misconduct by the press.

Cameron commissioned the Leveson Enquiry in July 2011, after the phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid and has since prompted dozens of arrests.

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