Don`t recommend press regulation law: UK MPs

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 18:57

London: Over 80 MPs and peers on Wednesday appealed to Lord Justice Leveson, the judge carrying out an inquiry into UK media ethics following the phone-hacking scandal, not to recommend a regulation law that could damage press freedom.

The cross-party group, including eight former cabinet ministers and London Olympics chairman Lord Coe, says any such move would damage press freedom.

Lord Justice Leveson is due to publish his report tomorrow.
The group, which has written to the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, wants a stronger "self-regulatory" system.

The Leveson Inquiry was established by the Prime Minister David Cameron in July last year and looked into the culture, practices and ethics of the press.

It was commissioned following allegations of illegal phone-hacking at the News of the World.

Cameron, who has already warned politicians not to pre-empt its findings, will receive his copy of the report today - 24 hours before its details are made public.

According to the BBC, Lord Justice Leveson was asked to produce a list of recommendations for a more effective policy and regulatory regime for the press, which would preserve its independence while encouraging higher ethical and professional standards.

At the moment the press is self-regulated through the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

Lord Justice Leveson is widely expected to recommend some form of statutory regulation overseen by an independent body.
But the politicians, led by former Labour home secretary David Blunkett and Conservative MP Conor Burns, argue in their letter this could be detrimental to free speech, saying, "As parliamentarians, we believe in free speech and are opposed to the imposition of any form of statutory control even if it is dressed up as underpinning."

They added, "No form of statutory regulation of the press would be possible without the imposition of state licensing - abolished in Britain in 1695."

"State licensing is inimical to any idea of press freedom and would radically alter the balance of our unwritten constitution," they said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 18:57

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