In July 2011, The Guardian newspaper in England broke the story that the News ofthe World tabloid had hacked the cell phone of a murdered schoolgirl in 2002. Sostrong was the outrage that media baron Rupert Murdoch shut down the News of theWorld. By year’send, many of his News Corp. executives had resigned or been forcedout of their positions, as had two top law officers at Scotland Yard who allegedlyfailed to order appropriate follow-up investigations of phone hacking evidence in theYard’s possession for at least five years. And News International, the U.K.publishing subsidiary of News Corp., agreed to pay 3 million pounds to the family ofMillyDowler, the murdered Surrey schoolgirl whose cell phone was hacked by the Newsof the World.Leveson Inquiry
Leveson Inquiry is the inquiry by Lord Justice Leveson into ‘the culture, practices andethics of the press.’ In order to do this in an accurate and thorough way he heard 184witnesses and accepted 42 written statements over a period of 6 months.The inquiry was set up by David Cameron and Nicholas Clegg following the outrageof the public upon hearing that the missing school girl MillyDowler had had her phonehacked by the News of the World. Following on from this it became evident that phonehacking was far more widespread than ever believed possible. People also began toquestion why the police, politicians and the Press Complaints Committee (PCC) hadfailed to investigate phone hacking more comprehensively when concerns were first raisedabout the News of the World.The inquiry is looking at the whole press and not just News Corp’s newspapers. Oneof its purposes is to look closely at the relationships between the press and the public,politicians and police and to see how powerful the press was in relation to the othergroups.Once the report has been completed then there will be recommendations made as to howthe press regulation should be reformed; should there be a statutory, external regulatorybody set up or should the existing ‘self-regulation’ be made more robust andsuccessful. Obviously the press isstrongly against having an external regulatory bodyset up because they believe this may stop the freedom of speech, with many truths beingunable to be publicised. But it is important that Leveson develops a system that willcoverthe wholeofthe press.Eventually a 2,000 page report was in November 2012. The report found that thepresent PCC was not enough to ensure the privacy of the public. He recommended thata new independent body should be set up that had many sanctions available includingfines.Soon after the report David Cameron spoke in the House of Commons saying that thereport was welcomed but he had concerns about bringing about the changes. Talks beganin December 2012 between the press and politicians about putting changes in place andthese talks should be finished by the summer of 2013.