LORD JUSTICE Leveson yesterday called for tougher press self-regulation backed by legislation.
Announcing the publication of his report at a news conference which took no questions, Leveson said the press had ‘wreaked havoc in the lives of innocent people’ for many decades.
He said the proposals in his report will protect the rights of victims and people bringing complaints.
Leveson said the relationship between senior politicians and press over the last two decades has been ‘too close’, which has been ‘damaging for public confidence’.
His report suggests that members of the government and leading members of the opposition should publish details on a quarterly basis of all meetings with media proprietors, editors and executives, including ‘private’ meetings at their homes.
A summary of telephone calls, letters, emails and text messages between the political parties should also be published.
Cameron is criticised in the report for undermining public confidence in politicians by creating the perception that he had become too close to newspaper proprietors.
Senior police officers should also publish details of their meetings with the media, and should think carefully before drinking alcohol with them.
Leveson said he found no widespread evidence of police corruption in dealing with the media.
But his report criticises the Met Police’s decision-making during the original phone-hacking inquiry and says former assistant commissioner John Yates should have declined to review the hacking investigation because of his personal friendship with the then News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis.
Leveson told his news conference that there must be change in press regulation.
He advocated a new form of self-regulation, organised by the industry, but with sufficient involvement of outsiders.
Leveson added that new legislation is necessary ‘only for the narrow purpose’ of recognising a new independent self-regulatory system.
Legislation would validate a new regulatory body’s independent processes, and create an arbitration system through which victims can seek redress without having to go through the courts.