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Brit Prime Minister David Cameron Defies Leveson Report Over Press Laws

David Cameron - P 2012
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Cameron is prepared to block Leveson's key recommendation of new laws to regulate newspapers over fears it could undermine freedom of speech.

 

LONDON: U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday he has "serious misgivings and concerns" about state regulation of the press, after Lord Justice Leveson  said there should be new laws to set up a newspaper watchdog, according to the Telegraph.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Cameron said he was "wary" of any regulation that has "the potential to infringe on free speech."

"We should think very, very carefully about crossing this line," he told ministers.

The Prime Minister said a new system that "complies with the Leveson principles should be put in place rapidly" but he does not believe laws are necessary to do so.

"I'm not convinced that statute is necessary to achieve Lord Justice Leveson's objectives," he said.

"The danger is this would create a vehicle for politicians to impose regulations on the press."

Cameron also said he is "instinctively concerned" about changing data protection laws, as this could "wreck proper investigative journalism in our country."

He made clear that "the system we have is badly broken and has let down victims badly" and said he is in favor of independent regulator.

He also supported plans to record meetings between journalists, senior police officers and politicians.

However, he said the whole House of Commons must think carefully before taking the "enormous step" of bringing in laws setting up a new press watchdog, said the Telegraph.

Cameron's speech is also likely to divide his members of parliament, with dozens supporting press laws and dozens fighting to keep them off the statute book.