Press 'need to act' after Leveson

The Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press has published its report. Here are the key points.

Briefly:

  • New self-regulation body recommended
  • Independent of serving editors, government and business
  • No widespread corruption of police by the press found
  • Politicians and press have been too close
  • Press behaviour, at times, has been 'outrageous'

Regulation

An independent regulatory body for the press should be established.

It should take an active role in promoting high standards, including having the power to investigate serious breaches and sanction newspapers.

The new body should be backed by legislation designed to assess whether it is doing its job properly.

The legislation would enshrine, for the first time, a legal duty on the government to protect the freedom of the press.

An arbitration system should be created through which people who say they have been victims of the press can seek redress without having to go through the courts.

Newspapers that refuse to join the new body could face direct regulation by media watchdog Ofcom.

The body should be independent of current journalists, the government and commercial concerns, and not include any serving editors, government members or MPs.

The body should consider encouraging the press to be as transparent as possible in relation to sources for its stories, if the information is in the public domain.

A whistle-blowing hotline should be established for journalists who feel under pressure to do unethical things.

Police

No evidence of widespread police corruption.

Former Met Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates's relationship with media publisher News International, where he had friends working at the News of the World, including the deputy editor, was criticised.

Politicians

Politicians of all parties had developed "too close a relationship with the press in a way which has not been in the public interest".

The relationship between politicians and press over the last three decades has damaged the perception of public affairs.

But former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and PM David Cameron were cleared of being too close to the Murdoch media empire.

Public

When chasing stories, journalists have caused "real hardship and, on occasion, wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people". This happened to both famous people and members of the public. Press behaviour, at times, "can only be described as outrageous".

At the News of the World, quite apart from phone hacking, there was a failure of systems of management and compliance. There was a general lack of respect for individual privacy and dignity at the paper.

Read commentary from BBC Media Correspondent Torin Douglas on key parts of the Leveson Report's executive summary:

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The Leveson report

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