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British press braces for ethics inquiry report
November 23, 2012
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LONDON: The Leveson inquiry into press standards in Britain, set up after the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World tabloid, will publish its findings on Nov.29, it was announced on Thursday.

Former senior judge Brian Leveson will unveil his hotly anticipated proposals for regulation of the newspaper industry, whose reputation has been hit hard in the past year by revelations of hacking and allegations of bribery.

Prime Minister David Cameron will respond immediately to the report with a statement to parliament, but he has already said that maintaining the current system of self-regulation of the press “is not an option.”

Newspaper editors are braced for strong criticism after receiving letters from the inquiry this summer giving them an indication of the inquiry’s findings.

Chris Blackhurst, the editor of the Independent, said they amounted to “basically a point-by-point demolition of the industry.”

Cameron set up the inquiry in July 2011 following the revelation that the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World had engaged in widespread phone hacking, including targeting a missing teenage girl who was later found murdered.

Murdoch responded to public outrage by dramatically closing the 168-year-old tabloid, but his media empire has continued to be hit by a wave of arrests over hacking and bribery, and the prospect of two high-profile trials.

Leveson will look into the hacking scandal after the police investigations are complete, but his first task was to examine the culture, practices and ethics of the press, specifically its relationship with the public, police and politicians.

During ten months of televised public hearings, the former judge heard from politicians including Cameron himself, newspaper barons including Murdoch, police chiefs, journalists, hacking victims and celebrities.

Leveson has previously indicated that he wants any new regulatory body to be independent of the establishment and the press and to be able to provide redress for those wronged and a swift resolution of privacy and libel disputes.

Cameron will see the report before it is published, but he has already said that he is minded to implement its recommendations.

Agence France-Presse

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