Leveson Report to Contain Strong Criticism of British Newspapers (Report)

Justice Brian Leveson - P 2012
Getty Images

The report on media standards following a probe amid the News Corp. phone hacking scandal is expected to comment on privacy issues and argue that press self-regulation has failed.

LONDON - Justice Brian Leveson's final report on his investigation into U.K. press standards and ethics is expected to contain strong criticism of the British print media and comments on various topics -  from privacy protections to press self-regulation.

The Guardian said that a five-page summary that has been mailed to newspaper companies lists the areas, on which Leveson is planning to comment in conclusion of his probe that was launched amid the phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

It quoted people who have seen it as saying that he has thrown the "kitchen sink" at the newspaper industry. "It is excoriating," one source told the paper. The final report is expected to be published in late October.

The summary covers such themes as accuracy in the media and public interest. A section on current self-regulation of the press says "self-regulation has failed," according to the Guardian. In that context, the Press Complaints Commission, which is in the process of winding down, is expected to come in for criticism. It wasn't immediately clear what alternative approach Leveson may be suggesting.

One source told the Guardian it wasn't clear if Leveson would agree with every criticism listed in the summary or if that simply constituted a laundry list of concerns raised during the 197-day Leveson Inquiry.

The news came after a report that Leveson had prepared letters warning all those who will be criticized in his final report in October, even though it wasn't clear which individuals and companies would be censured.

The Guardian on Wednesday also reported that police have detained Bob Bird, the former Scotland editor of News Corp.'s now-defunct News of the World, which has been at the center of the hacking scandal. It said the detention was part of a long-running inquiry into claims that witnesses lied during a perjury trial a few years ago. He is the third former News of the World journalist to be held. Another one was former editor Andy Coulson, a key figure in the hacking scandal.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai