dryriver writes: The BBC reports: 'A tougher form of self-regulation backed by legislation should be introduced to uphold press standards, the Leveson report in the UK has recommended. Lord Justice Leveson said the press had "wreaked havoc in the lives of innocent people" for many decades, referring to illegal stunts like Tabloid papers clandestinely hacking the voicemails of people who are in the news, looking for "gossip material" and generally "dirt" on the individuals targeted. He said the proposals in his report will protect the rights of victims and people bringing complaints. He criticised the relationship between politicians and press over the last two decades, which had been "damaging". He said the press had failed to properly regulate itself in the past, but he believed the law could be used to "validate" a new body. "The press has to be accountable to the public in whose interests it claims to be acting and must show respect for the rights of others. It should not be acceptable that it uses its voice, power, and authority to undermine the ability of society to require that regulation is not a free for all, to be ignored with impunity." The judge said the legislation would enshrine, for the first time, a legal duty on the government to protect the freedom of the press. "Second, it would provide an independent process to recognise the new self-regulatory body and reassure the public that the basic requirements of independence and effectiveness were met and continue to be met; in the report, I recommend that this is done by Ofcom (Office of Communications)," he said. Leveson said he wanted the industry to sign up to a legally-binding arbitration process that would force newspapers to deal effectively with complaints. The new body could have the power to "sanction" newspapers and fund investigations, while those titles which refused to join could face direct regulation by Ofcom.'
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