Leveson Inquiry Recommendations for U.K. Media Regulation Delayed (Report)

Justice Brian Leveson - P 2012
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A final report from the initiative launched in the wake of the News Corp. phone hacking scandal is now expected in late November.

LONDON - A final report and recommendations by the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics and standards in the U.K. has been delayed until late November, according to The Guardian.

Judge Brian Leveson, who has led the examination of press standards that has heard evidence from the likes of News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and son James Murdoch, has never provided a date for his final report, which is expected to provide suggestions for new ways to regulate the U.K. newspaper landscape in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. He has in the past only mentioned it would come out in the fall.

However, the final report was originally understood to have a target date of  October before being pushed back to early or mid-November. Citing sources, the Guardian now says it will likely be published at the end of November, although there was some recent speculation that it may take until December.

British media groups and politicians have since the end of the Leveson hearings repeatedly commented in favor or against stricter press regulation. The Daily Telegraph, London mayor Boris Johnson and others have warned Prime Minister David Cameron that increased government regulation would be negative for the industry and a free press.

Some newspaper groups are backing a new lobby group called the Free Speech Network, the Guardian said. It warns that an "officially regulated press is the glib, easy, dangerous solution."

Meanwhile, the Hacked Off campaign for tougher regulation has Hugh Grant as one of its public faces.

Britain already has regulations for such things as defamation and data protection. But some media owners fear that Leveson could recommend that an often-toothless self-regulation body, the Press Complaints Commission, be transformed into a government regulator.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai