Timeline of British press scandal
Fri, 30 Nov 2012 6:10p.m.
By 3 News Europe Correspondent Melissa Davies with AP
Lord Justice Brian Leveson has called for a new watchdog to curb an out-of-control British press that he says “wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people”.
His report follows a series of scandals in which journalists routinely hacked phones and paid police officers for information.
Britain’s prime minister has rejected the key recommendation, saying a law change would stifle an even more important principle – freedom of speech. But his deputy and opposition have sided with the phone hacking victims.
It was the story of the Dowlers, who were victims of phone hacking after their daughter Milly was murdered, that sparked the call for the first regulation of the British press in 400 years.
Lord Leveson says they're one of many examples of people treated with no dignity or respect by the press.
After 18 months of investigation, he recommended that press ethics should be overseen by an independent body, backed up by law, and with fines of up to $2 million for anyone who steps out of line.
Newspapers had tried to argue that the phone hacking was limited to News Of The World, but Leveson didn't buy that. He criticised editors for their lack of embarrassment over “intrusion” and “deception” through the whole of the press.
He also criticised police and politicians for having too close a relationship with the press which he said was not in the public interest.
That message didn't appear to get through to David Cameron - the British prime minister sided with the papers, saying new laws could mushroom into censorship.
“I have some serious concerns and misgivings on this recommendation. They break down into issues of principle, practicality and necessity. The issue for principle is for the first time we would have crossed the Rubicon of writing elements of press regulation into the law of the land,” he says.
The Sun’s associate political editor David Wooding also fears the future consequences of more regulation.
“My fear is that once we have crossed that line into state regulation of the press it could be tweaked at a later date and they could [have] all sorts of new powers over us,” he says.
But state regulation is the only solution according to the opposition and even Cameron’s deputy, Nick Clegg.
“Lord Justice Leveson has considered these things at length. He has found that changing the law is the only way to guarantee a system of self-regulation that governs all of the press.”
It was Cameron who ordered the Leveson inquiry, but now he doesn't want to abide by the recommendations. It looks like the final word will come down to a vote in Parliament.
LONG SCANDAL HIGHLIGHTS FAULTS OF BRITISH PRESS
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30/11/2012 8:09:16 p.m.
its not confined to the uk we have the same problem in nz . we also need lord leveson to come to nz and do the same here . if i could i woild finace the whole thing thats how strongly i beleave the media are corrupt and biased when it comes to politics.
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