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Leveson report calls for new press law | Media | guardian.co.uk

Lord Justice Leveson has recommended the introduction of the first press law in Britain since the 17th century - proposing that a statutory body such as Ofcom should take responsibility for monitoring an overhauled Press Complaints Commission.

The proposal - made despite the fierce opposition of Fleet Street to the introduction of statute - is designed to reassure the public that newspapers are subject to an effective and independent regulator to prevent a repetition of phone hacking or other scandals.

Leveson said that his proposed new law would enshrine "for the first time" a "legal duty on the government to protect the freedom of the press". It would also allow the new body to set up a low-cost libel and privacy tribunal to handle complaints instead of the courts - and provide "benefits in law" to those who signed up. Those who do not sign up would be denied the ability to reclaim the often substantial costs of litigation - even if they win - from complainants bringing libel, privacy or other media related actions.

In the 56-page summary to his 2,000-page report, Leveson said that the purpose of legislation was "not to establish a body to regulate the press". But he warned that if newspapers were not prepared to join a revamped PCC it would be necessary to force Ofcom to act as a "backstop regulator".



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 29th, 2012 at 09:29:52 AM EST

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