J.K. Rowling Renews Call for U.K. Press Regulation

7:06 AM PST 07/04/2013 by Georg Szalai
J.K. Rowling

The "Harry Potter" author signs a letter drawn up by Hugh Grant-supported group Hacked Off, which urges the government to push through delayed reforms.

LONDON -- Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is among the signatories of a letter urging Britain's culture secretary to push through press regulation reforms that have been delayed following last year's recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry into U.K. media standards and ethics.

Rowling, Jude Law's former publicist and 24 other victims of press abuse signed a letter about the topic from activist group Hacked Off, whose supporters include Hugh Grant. It was addressed to culture secretary Maria Miller.

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The British parliament earlier this year drew up a charter for press regulation based on a multiparty agreement. The charter needs the approval of a council, whose next meeting is on Wednesday.

Prime minister David Cameron has ordered a delay in the approval process amid protests from newspaper companies. They criticized that Hacked Off was part of the process that led to the charter deal, while they were not.

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"It is more than three months since all parties in parliament gave their backing to the cross-party royal charter closely based on the Leveson recommendations," the open letter said. "We urge you to recall that the March 18 charter has the backing of parliament, is founded on the recommendations of a duly constituted public inquiry that painstakingly took account of the views of all stakeholders, and is supported by the great majority of victims of press abuses."

It added: "Standing in opposition to this are representatives of parts of the press, and in particular of a part that was found by the public inquiry to have 'wreaked havoc in the lives of innocent people.' In short, a tiny if powerful vested interest with a record of causing harm to the public is challenging the democratic will of parliament."

The letter concluded that "it would be appalling if such people, in defiance of the will of the rest of society, were allowed to delay the implementation of a government policy" that has the support of parliament.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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