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Parties agree press regulation reforms

Parties agree press regulation reforms

Fundamental reforms to the UK's system of media law have been agreed by all three main political parties.

In the aftermath of the phone-hacking scandal and Leveson inquiry, a new independent regulator is to be set up by royal charter that will result in groundbreaking changes to the way in which regulation of the press operates in Britain.

Following extensive discussions and consultation, prime minister David Cameron, deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband have come to an agreement.

This deal is intended to preserve the existing premise of freedom of the press while also offering greater protection and course for redress for victims of media intrusion.

Lord Justice Leveson's investigation into press ethics established that journalists working for newspapers such as the now-defunct News of the World had hacked thousands of phones and, as as such, he called for press regulation to be overhauled.

Politicians have reacted to this request and Mr Cameron insisted the new system will provide "tough, independent self-regulation that will deliver for victims and meet the principles set out in Leveson's report".

Under the terms of the new regulations, the press will be legally obliged to offer upfront apologies to victims of their wrongdoing, while publishers - newspapers, magazines or websites - will also be eligible to be fined up to one per cent of their turnover to a maximum of £1 million.

The new body will be fully independent in terms of staff appointments and funding and will abide by a strict code of standards.

While unveiling the draft royal charter in the House of Commons, the prime minister said that what happened to the likes of the Dowler and McCann families in terms of having their privacy invaded was "despicable".

"It is right that we put in place a new system of press regulation to ensure such appalling acts can never happen again. We should do this without any further delay," he added.

Contact our media, libel and privacy solicitors on 0800 916 9081 or email if you would like advice on any media, libel and privacy matter

Posted by Francesca Witney