report into News Corp.'s phone-hacking scandal and the health of the
British press in general by Lord Justice Leveson has recommended to
Parliament that a new, independent, body be established for effective
self-regulation of the press.
The report "wholly rejected" the argument that while
there were problems at News of the World,
that was no justification for believing other titles may have been acting
unlawfully or unethically.
Even before the report was released, Sen. Jay Rockefeller
(D- W. Va.) was anticipating that possibility. "While I understand that
the main goal of this report is to make policy recommendations, the core of the
Inquiry remains the illegal and unethical practices of newspapers owned by the
News Corporation," he said in a statement, "I remain deeply concerned
that these companies may have violated U.S. laws and injured U.S. citizens. I
hope that Lord Leveson's new report and other ongoing investigations will continue
to clear the air and hold the companies accountable for their deplorable
The Lord Justice said in the report that he was not
recommending that the press be "delivered into the arms of the
state," but that "the price of press freedom should be paid by those
who suffer, unfairly and egregiously, at the hands of the press and have no
sufficient mechanism for obtaining redress."
And taking a page from an argument broadcasters and others
in the U.S. have been making to the FCC, the report concludes that when talking
about preserving diversity of voices, or what it calls "media
plurality," online news needs to be considered as part of that equation.
But he also warned against "burdensome or insensitive
regulation [that] would make it even harder for British newspaper groups to
survive," particularly given that they the UK has "few world class
players to rival great global American information businesses."