Leveson Inquiry Warns Witnesses Who Will Be Censured (Report)
LONDON - Justice Brian Leveson has warned all those who will be criticized in his final report on U.K. media ethics and standards that is expected to be published this fall, The Independent reported.
The news is the latest sign that the government-funded inquiry launched following the News Corp. phone hacking scandal is nearing its completion. The report is expected to come out in late October.
The Independent said letters have now gone out to all witnesses who are likely to be censured. They will have several weeks to respond to charges. But the paper said the names of those people weren't immediately available.
One key decision for Leveson will be which, if any, senior executives of News International, the U.K. newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., to criticize. Any such mention could cause complications amid police investigations and recent charges against some, including former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, that will be heard in court soon. Leveson will have to make sure that any criticism does not affect people's right to fair trials, the paper said.
Also still unclear is whether Leveson will recommend some form of new regulation of U.K. media. Newspaper companies are believed to have lobbied the government to stay away from increased regulation, while the opposition Labour Party has called for new curbs on the media.
The Independent also said that the warnings to those facing criticism in Leveson's final report would likely affect Prime Minister David Cameron's decisions regarding an expected move of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to a new post.
If Hunt, criticized by some for being too pro-News Corp. in the regulatory review of its planned, but then dropped BSkyB acquisition, is cleared of any wrongdoing in the final Leveson report, Cameron could promote him without fears that he will later be forced to resign.