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Kiwi News International boss backs Leveson outcome

Friday 30 Nov 2012 10:15 a.m.

Tom Mockridge (Reuters)

Tom Mockridge (Reuters)

News International's New Zealand-born chief executive is supporting the suggestions of a wide-ranging inquiry into the UK press standards prompted by the phone-hacking scandal.

Lord Justice Brian Leveson has condemned decades of "outrageous" behaviour by newspapers as he called for a new regulatory system backed by law when presenting his 2000-page report after a year-long inquiry.

It was sparked after it emerged journalists at the now defunct News of the World and The Sun - both News International publications - were hacking into phones, including that of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, and paying contacts for tip-offs.

Lord Justice Leveson's damning inquiry says the press had repeatedly acted as if its own code of conduct "simply did not exist", and "wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people".

He proposes an independent regulator with the power to impose large fines.

Kiwi Tom Mockridge, who took over from Rebekah Brooks at News International last July after the scandal broke, admitted there needed to be fundamental reform of media regulation before the report was released. He says it would play a role in reshaping the industry.

"As a company we are keen to play our full part, with others in our industry, in creating a new body that commands the confidence of the public.

"We believe that this can be achieved without statutory regulation.

"We accept that a new system should be independent, have a standards code, a means of resolving disputes, the power to demand prominent apologies and the ability to levy heavy fines," he says.

He says the company was determined to move on and collaborate with others in the industry to set up a new body to "ensure British journalism is both responsible and robust".

NZN

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