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A judge recommended Thursday the British press should be regulated by an independent group supported by law and with the power to fine media sources.
Judge Brian Leveson recommended the change, in a report sparked by a phone-hacking scandal that occurred in 2011 at the hand of Rupert Murdoch. Leveson said he was not recommending a government run press regulator, but that the media industry should create its own, which would adhere to certain standards that would be backed by legislation.
The report grilled politicians, celebrities, and Mr. Murdoch over claims journalists hacked the phone messages of thousands of people, including murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler.
Prime Minister David Cameron came under fire from a lawyer for the Dowler family after the report’s publication when he said he feared bringing in new laws risked curbing the freedom of the British press.
Justice Leveson was highly critical of sections of the press, describing its behavior as outrageous.
“There have been too many times when, chasing the story, parts of the press have acted as if its own code, which it wrote, simply did not exist,” he said.
He criticized the relationship between the press and politicians in Britain, saying it had been too close.
The organization he proposes would have the power to fine offenders up to 1 million pounds and to order the publication of apologies and corrections.
He summed up his plans as “independent regulation of the press organized by the press, with a statutory verification process”.
“We accept that a new system should be independent, have a standards code, a means of resolving disputes, the power to demand prominent apologies and the ability to levy heavy fines,” said Tom Mockridge, a chief executive at Rupert Murdoch’s News International.
Police have arrested dozens of people under three linked probes into alleged crimes by British newspapers.