Leveson liveblog

Leveson liveblog

IT Thu, Nov 29
 

Sort by:

  • Latest first
  • Oldest first
  • This event has now ended
  • 11:47
    Good morning and welcome to The Irish Times live blog on the Leveson Inquiry report, which is due to be published at 1.30pm today.
  • 11:50
    Ciara Kenny here providing updates, if you have feedback or suggestions you can email me at ckenny@irishtimes.com.
  • 11:52
    To kick off our coverage today, Irish Times London Editor Mark Hennessy has provided comprehensive background to the inquiry so far. Read it here: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/1129/breaking9.html
  • 11:57
    London mayor Boris Johnson said it is time for the war between the media and politicians to end ahead of the publication of the Leveson report today.

    The 2,000-page document is due to be unveiled at 1.30pm, with the judge widely expected to suggest a new newspaper regulator underpinned by law.

    The report into press standards will be published amid fears its recommendations could throw the British government into turmoil.

    Mr Johnson said he “hopes and prays” the government will not back statutory control of the press.
  • 11:58
    There's a full article about Mr Johnson's comments, made to the Sun newspaper yesterday, here: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/1129/breaking14.html
  • 12:11
    Members of the press and "victims" are currently in a locked room reading preview copies of the Leveson Inquiry report before it's publication in an hour's time. The full document runs to about 2,000 pages.
  • 12:21
    Kate McCann, mother of missing girl Madeleine McCann, arriving to hear the verdict of Lord Leveson. Photograph: Olivia Harris/Reuters
    Kate McCann, mother of missing girl Madeleine McCann, arriving to hear the verdict of Lord Leveson. Photograph: Olivia Harris/Reuters
  • 12:22
    And now for some photos...
  • 12:24
    Bob and Sally Dowler, parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, have also arrived at the court. Photograph: Olivia Harris/Reuters
    Bob and Sally Dowler, parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, have also arrived at the court. Photograph: Olivia Harris/Reuters
  • 12:26
    The Commons has been told that both David Cameron and Nick Clegg will speak on behalf of the Government when they make back-to-back statements to MPs on Leveson today. It will be the first time since the coalition was formed in May 2010 that Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg make separate statements on an issue in the Commons.
  • 12:29
    In a statement on Twitter this morning, Nick Clegg (@nick_clegg) said: “I believe in a vigorous free press holding the powerful to account and not subject to political interference. But a free press does not and cannot mean a press that is free to bully innocent people or free to abuse grieving families. I hope, when Lord Justice Leveson gives his statement later today, we’ll remember the reasons why this inquiry was set up.”
  • 12:30
    According to Press Association reports, a visit by Emir of Kuwait to Westminster
    Abbey this morning is attracting more interest from the public than the “Leveson inquiry media circus” at the QEII centre opposite.
  • 12:36
    Lord Justice Leveson with the Report from the Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press inside the QEII Conference Centre, in central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
    Lord Justice Leveson with the Report from the Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press inside the QEII Conference Centre, in central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
  • 12:39
    A photograph of Lord Justice Leveson with the report from the Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press taken inside the QEII Conference Centre in central London this morning just went up.

    Readers who are viewing the blog from the homepage on irishtimes.com will have to click through to the full liveblog site to view pics.
  • 12:41
    Labour party member of parliament Chris Bryant arrives to attend the release. Photograph: Olivia Harris/Reuters
    Labour party member of parliament Chris Bryant arrives to attend the release. Photograph: Olivia Harris/Reuters
  • 12:59
    "From revelations of the prime minister's "LOL" text messages to Rebekah Brooks, to the disruption caused by an anti-war protester, the Leveson Inquiry has set the stage for some dramatic scenes." The BBC has a good round up of the 10 key witnesses who gave evidence at the media ethics inquiry: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18899085#TWEET404064
  • 13:02
    Clegg and Cameron have "failed to reach an agreement" on the response needed to the recommendations made by Lord Leveson, Sky News is reporting.
  • 13:02
    Total cost of inquiry is estimated at around £5.6 million.
  • 13:10
    The full Leveson Inquiry report will be published on http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/ in 20 minutes.
  • 13:13
    Media mogul Rupert Murdoch was snapped leaving his Fifth Avenue home in New York today. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
    Media mogul Rupert Murdoch was snapped leaving his Fifth Avenue home in New York today. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
  • 13:13
    Media mogul Rupert Murdoch was snapped leaving his Fifth Avenue home in New York today. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
  • 13:21
    Hacked Off, the campaign team "supporting victims of press abuse and promoting world-class public interest journalism", will be holding a Twitter Q&A after the publication of the Leveson Report in about 10 minutes time. Find out more here: http://hackinginquiry.org/news/hacked-offs-leveson-twitter-qa-this-afternoon/
  • 13:22
    They are Tweeting at @hackinginquiry
  • 13:24
    Channel 4 have a quiz where you can test your decision making skills - can you handle the pressure of being a top editor? Take the test: http://www.channel4.com/news/leveson-inquiry-quiz-can-you-do-better-than-the-media
  • 13:31
    Conference is full now as press await Lord Leveson who is due to make a statement on his recommendations now.
  • 13:36
    Leveson is up on stage now
  • 13:37
    "Inquiry was sparked by one event, the hacking of a murdered teenager," he opens, saying the inquiry has been the "most concentrated" examination of the press the UK has ever seen.
  • 13:39
    The public interest has been damaged by the actions of some members of the press, which has "wreaked havoc" on lives.
  • 13:40
    "A free press in a democracy holds power to account. I remain firmly of the belief that the British press serves the public well for the vast majority of the time."
  • 13:41
    The press is not beyond challenge, despite its important role in educating the public and exposing wrongdoing.
  • 13:42
    The purpose of the inquiry has been to expose the wrongdoings on behalf of the press, and to make recommendations for the future. There must be change.
  • 13:43
    This inquiry may not have been necessary if aspects of criminal and civil laws were working as they should.
  • 13:44
    Law enforcement can never be the full answer, however. Putting a policeman in every newsroom is not the answer.
  • 13:44
    An effective system of independent self regulation is what is needed.
  • 13:45
    Leveson says he has received submissions from newspapers saying they will sign up to self regulation.
  • 13:48
    Press needs to establish a truly independent system of regulation, that stands apart from government and the press industry. It should not include editors or politicians.

  • 13:50
    The government must protect media plurality, Leveson says.
  • 13:51
    As members of a new regulatory body, to be overseen by Ofcom, newspapers could show their willingness towards self-regulation
  • 13:52
    "This is not statutory regulation of the press", Leveson says.
  • 13:53
    Relationship between police and press: there has been a limit on the inquiry because of need not to prejudice any ongoing investigations. Evidence that relationship between press and police is healthy and interactions between two are not a cause for concern.
  • 13:54
    Relationship between politicians and press has been too close, which has undermined public confidence that decisions are being taken in the public interest.
  • 13:55
    The press is entitled to lobby in its own interest, but the extent should be open and transparent so the public have an awareness. Leveson has recommended a number of steps to address this issue, he says.
  • 13:58
    "I hope my recommendations will be met with the same cross-party support that led to the inquiry in the first place"
  • 13:59
    Leveson will not be making any further comment on the inquiry, as the 2,000 pages of the report should speak for itself. "The ball is now in the court of the politicians," he says.
  • 14:03
  • 14:05
    Max Mosely, privacy campaigner says the Leveson Report is a "very comprehensive document", one that "no responsible politician could ignore"
  • 14:08
    For a full summary of the Leveson Inquiry recommendations, read Mark Hennessy's updated report here: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/1129/breaking9.html
  • 14:12
    New regulatory body could be given powers to insist on apologies and impose fines of up to £1 million.
  • 14:13
    The new board will not have the power to prevent publication of material. Leveson said the best option would be for publications to sign up voluntarily to the proposed regulatory body.
  • 14:17
    Evidence given to the Leveson inquiry “demonstrated beyond any doubt” that there had been too many cases over the last decade and more where the press simply ignored its responsibilities.

    "There have been too many times when, chasing the story, parts of the press have acted as if its own code, which it made, simply did not exist,” Lord Justice Leveson declared in his report, published today.

    Read more about how the press "ignored its responsibilities" in Mark Hennessy's second piece since the publication of the Leveson Inquiry report this afternoon: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/1129/breaking34.html
  • 14:18
    The Press Association are reporting "widely-varying reactions among journalists, politicians, campaigners and victims of intrusion" to the Leveson recommendations.
  • 14:19
    Civil liberties group Liberty — whose director Shami Chakrabarti served as an assessor in the inquiry team — welcomed the principal recommendation of a more robust and independent press self-regulator, but said it was unable to back the last-resort alternative of compulsory statutory regulation.
  • 14:20
    Leveson said legislation will be needed, but only to enshrine government's duty to protect the freedom of the press, to recognise the new regulatory body and to reassure the public that standards will be set high and kept - not to regulate the press.

    However, newspapers that refuse to sign up to be regulated by the new body could face regulation instead by Ofcom, the statutory regulator that governs UK television stations, he warned.
  • 14:24
    David Cameron (@David_Cameron) has just Tweeted: "I’ll be responding to Lord Justice #Leveson at 3pm - giving a clear sense of direction."
  • 14:26
    Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow (‏@jonsnowC4): "Newspapers to be subjected to a truly independent regulatary body on which Editors cannot sit: A body underpinned by law #leveson"
  • 14:26
    Statement being read out by Hacked Off campaign group outside the court now
  • 14:28
    Hacked Off have welcomed the report, saying the PCC has been wholly discredited. A regulator that can properly protect the victims of press misconduct is what is needed, along with legislation to underpin it. Spokeswoman called for cross-party support to implement the recommendations of the report.
  • 14:30
    Hacked Off spokeswoman concludes: "The inquiry is over. Now is the time for action."
  • 14:33
    A panel of victims will be answering questions from the press on their reaction to the report after Cameron and Clegg address the Commons at 3pm.
  • 14:36
    Former motor-racing boss Max Mosley leaves after attending the release of the Leveson report. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Reuters
    Former motor-racing boss Max Mosley leaves after attending the release of the Leveson report. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Reuters
  • 14:42
    Lord Justice Leveson delivers his findings into the Leveson Report at the Queen Elizabeth II centre today. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/WPA Pool/Getty Images
    Lord Justice Leveson delivers his findings into the Leveson Report at the Queen Elizabeth II centre today. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/WPA Pool/Getty Images
  • 14:52
    Kirsty Hughes, chief executive of free speech group Index on Censorship, has said there is a need for a “serious, considered debate” about the Leveson recommendations.

    “We are worried about the statutory-voluntary approach to independent press regulation, which is similar to the Irish model, even if it is with oversight from Ofcom rather than politicians,” she said.

    “However, we strongly welcome the proposal for cheap, effective arbitration, which Index on Censorship has led the way in advocating.”
  • 14:55
    David Cameron went to “great lengths” to woo Rupert Murdoch’s News International newspaper empire prior to the last general election, Leveson has said in the main report.

    Cameron’s closeness to senior NI executives like Rebekah Brooks had created a problem of “public perception”, although he accepted there was no “deal” of newspaper support for the expectation of policy favours.
  • 14:56
    “A way of conducting relationships with the media which leads to a situation in which a public inquiry is needed to take an objective, not to say forensic, look at the matter in order to reassure the public cannot be considered as satisfactory or itself in the public interest.”
    He said Mr Cameron’s media strategy when the Conservatives were in opposition had succeeded in winning the support of the centre right press and NI, although its impact on the 2010 general election should not be overestimated.
  • 14:57
    MPs are gathering in the Commons now, preparing to hear Cameron's statement on the Leveson Inquiry recommendations at 3pm.
  • 14:59
    Dominic Crossley of Hacked Off, who represented the families of Millie Dowler and Madeleine McCann during the inquiry, spoke of the victims in a statement outside the court.

    “They want a better and more responsible press because they recognise its value. They are just a small selection of the hundreds of other people who have been the victims of spears, bullies and attention,” he said.
  • 15:01
    Many people on Twitter are asking why the BBC has used a helicopter in its coverage of Leveson when so many cuts are being implemented in the broadcaster.
  • 15:02
    David Cameron has begun his speech in the Commons, thanking Lord Leveson for his detailed inquiry.
  • 15:04
    David Cameron said his government were as committed to the inquiry into media ethics as they were when the inquiry was set up. He said that as a government, they were accepting the findings.
  • 15:12
    Legislation required to underpin the regulation could become complicated, Cameron says. Danger that it could provide a vehicle for politicians to impose statutory legislation on the press.
  • 15:13
    This question, in addition to issues regarding data protection, need to be discussed, Cameron said, inviting Clegg to cross-party talks to help to implement the recommendations as soon as possible.
  • 15:17
    "I do not want to live in a country where the lives of innocent people like the McCanns and the Dowlers can be torn apart," Labour Party leader Ed Miliband says in Commons following Cameron's speech.
  • 15:22
    Miliband: In 17 years we have had 7 reports that have gone nowhere. This is a once in a generation opportunity to regain public trust. We must act.
  • 15:28
    Miliband said recommendations made by Leveson should be accepted in their entirety.
  • 15:29
    Cameron: We should be wary of any legislation that has the potential to infringe free speech and the free press.
  • 15:34
    Cameron said former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt had endured “a stream of allegations with great dignity” over his handling of the BSkyB bid, and the report confirmed that “we were right to stand by him”.
  • 15:37
    Cameron said former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt had endured “a stream of allegations with great dignity” over his handling of the BSkyB bid, and the report confirmed that “we were right to stand by him”.

    He said he agreed with Leveson that current press industry proposals for a new regulation system “do not yet go far enough”.

    He added that the press had a “limited period of time” to make its own changes, and the “status quo” would not be allowed to stand.
  • 15:38
    Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, warned that detailed statutory underpinning of regulation could be dangerous.

    He told Sky News: “What there can’t be though, in my view, because it would take us back down that slippery slope, the 350 years back to licensing, is if you let politicians get too involved.”
  • 15:41
    Labour MP Chris Bryant, who was a victim of phone hacking, said he hoped no politician would “be frightened into not taking action where action really is needed and where the public really want it.”

    “You can’t just keep on writing lies and hope that nobody is going to slap your wrist.”
  • 15:46
    Prime Minister David Cameron listens to Labour Party leader Ed Miliband response to his statement to MPs in the House of Commons in London. Photograph: PA Wire
    Prime Minister David Cameron listens to Labour Party leader Ed Miliband response to his statement to MPs in the House of Commons in London. Photograph: PA Wire
  • 15:57
    Media law specialist Mark Stephens, a partner with law firm Finers Stephens Innocent, has questioned the fines of up to £1 million recommended by Leveson for newspapers that don’t comply:

    “How does Leveson’s suggestion of fines up to £1 million square with the cap on damages to avoid the chilling of free speech? It seems Lord Justice Leveson has forgotten the Elton John decision in the European Court of Human Rights. We have a cap on libel and privacy damages of £230,000 so as to avoid fines having a chilling effect on free speech. This is clearly yet another area which the Prime Minister will need to look at more carefully,” he said.
  • 16:07
    The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said they have been calling for a “conscience clause” for journalists for a long time, which is now supported by Leveson’s recommendations.

    Such a move would safeguard journalists who object to being made to act unethically in the pursuit of a story, NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet has said.
  • 16:12
    "The NUJ will now do all it can to ensure that when journalists stand up for a principle of journalistic ethics they have a contractual protection against being dismissed," Stanistreet said.

    “Now is the time to build a solid framework that gives journalists the confidence and the security to put their head above the parapet and take a stand for ethical journalism."
  • 16:16
    There's a handy summary of the main findings and recommendations contained in the Leveson Inquiry report here: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/1129/breaking45.html
  • 16:17
    NIck Clegg is giving a statement on Leveson now. He opened by saying he agreed with "many" of the recommendations, thanked Leveson for his thorough inquiry and said a firm timeline for decisions must be established.
  • 16:19
    He said he believed the core proposals of the report were "proportionate and workable".
  • 16:22
    Clegg said cross-party talks on Leveson would be taking place later this
    afternoon.
  • 16:24
    Clegg said UK newspapers who publish in Ireland such as the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Sunday Times and the Mirror had already signed up to self-regulation in accordance with Irish press guidelines, and he had "not heard of any reports of an anti-liberal press from across the Irish sea".
  • 16:29
    He added that changing the law is "the only way to give us all the assurance that the new regulator isn’t just independent for a few months or years, but is independent for good.”

    He said he had heard nothing to suggest that a better solution can be found than the one proposed by Leveson, adding: “We need to get on with this without delay.”
  • 16:32
    A cameraman films next to a protester's papier mache head, in the likeness of Rupert Murdoch. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
  • 16:32
    A cameraman films next to a protester's papier mache head, in the likeness of Rupert Murdoch. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
    A cameraman films next to a protester's papier mache head, in the likeness of Rupert Murdoch. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
  • 16:36
    A man stands next to a protester's papier mache head, in the likeness of Prime Minister David Cameron. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
    A man stands next to a protester's papier mache head, in the likeness of Prime Minister David Cameron. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
  • 16:37
    BBC has compiled a list of relevant journalists, politicians, campaigners and others interested in the Leveson Report who are worth checking out on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BBCNews/leveson-report-sources#TWEET405341
  • 16:40
    The Hacked Off campaign group are hosting a news conference in London now, which will include a panel of victims of phone hacking.
  • 16:45
    The Metropolitan Police have released a statement saying the scrutiny of relations between the police and the press, and alleged phone hacking, had been “a healthy and valuable process”.

    The force accepted that there were failings over a victim strategy and the decision not to re-open the hacking investigation was “taken too quickly and with a defensive mindset”.

    Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said the priority for the force now was to ensure the victims of phone hacking get justice.
  • 16:48
    A protest group campaigning against the political dominance of Rupert Murdoch stage a mock burning of a copy of the Leveson Report. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
    A protest group campaigning against the political dominance of Rupert Murdoch stage a mock burning of a copy of the Leveson Report. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
  • 16:59
    The House of Lords are now discussing Leveson. Watch it live on the BBC website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_lords/newsid_8756000/8756700.stm
  • 17:03
    Hacked Off have started an online petition calling on Cameron, Clegg and Miliband to work together to implement the recommendations of Leveson in full and asap, "ignore pressure from media barons", introduce legally-backed regulation, place tighter limits on how much of our media an individual is allowed to own, and promote investigative journalism. http://hackinginquiry.org/petition/
  • 17:08
    A summary of key quotes from Leveson's report and speech can be found here: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/1129/breaking43.html
  • 17:14
    Brian Cathcart, director of Hacked Off, said prime minister Cameron’s “failure to accept the full recommendations of the report is unfortunate and regrettable.”

    He said Lord Leveson has done his job by creating a “workable, proportionate and reasonable solution to the problems of press abuse”, but prime minister Cameron had not done his job.

    “Despite their years of abuses and outrageous conduct, it seems that the prime minister still trusts the editors and proprietors to behave themselves. It seems that the Prime Minister wants self-regulation all over again, and he does not want any independent body to decide whether it is working or whether it is up to standard,” he said.
  • 17:38
    Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has outlined the differences in stance between himself and prime minister David Cameron on the Leveson recommendations: "The difference is that I believe that the case for legislation has been made, but of course acknowledge that we now need to show how that can be delivered in a proportionate and workable way in practice.”

    Mr Cameron, he added “has expressed his serious misgivings thoughtfully about the step of taking legislation, but has not entirely excluded that possibility in the absence of other viable alternatives”.
  • 17:40
    Solicitor Mark Lewis, who represents the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, has said Cameron has failed the victims of phone hacking.

    “Cautious optimism lasted for about 45 minutes and then the prime minister spoke and said he is not going to implement a report that he instigated,” he said.
  • 17:40
    David Guiney Self regulation is no regulation. Very disappointing by Levesons' rhetoric.
  • 17:44
    Talks between Cameron, Clegg and Miliband on the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry are now under way in the prime minister's office in the House of Commons.
  • 17:50
    Madeleine McCann’s mother Kate has said she hopes the Leveson report will “mark the start of a new era” for the press, in which it treats those in the news “with care and consideration”.
  • 17:51
    Hugh Grant ‏(@HackedOffHugh) has just Tweeted:
    "If it's not bonkers I'll do it" - @David_Cameron. It wasn't and he didn't. Please support our petition. http://hackinginquiry.org/petition/ #Leveson
  • 17:52
    Grant Tweeted earlier: "With a group of (non celeb) victims including Hillsborough families listening to PM. Buzzword is betrayal. #Leveson"
  • 17:57
    Joan Smith (left) speaks during the Hacked Off press conference this afternoon. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
    Joan Smith (left) speaks during the Hacked Off press conference this afternoon. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
  • 18:02
    Over in the House of Lords, Labour former cabinet minister Lord Mandelson accused the prime minister of putting the interests of politics before those of victims.

    He said certain sections of the press wanted instead to put forward a “variation” of the Press Commplaints Commission, which was a “plaything of the Daily Mail and News
    International”.

    Lord Mandelson said a “statutory longstop” was needed to a “genuinely independent system of regulation” — making clear the press was not “above the law in how they behave”.
  • 18:19
    London Mayor Boris Johnson has said David Cameron is “absolutely right” to be wary of statutory regulation of the press. Speaking from Mumbai in India, he said Cameron “puts his finger on the real difficulty of framing any sort of legislation to underpin the independent commission that would end up fettering the freedom of the press”.
  • 18:30
    The cross-party meeting between Cameron, Clegg and Miliband is now over.

    According to the Press Association, a senior Labour source said the prime minister had agreed to ask the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to draft a bill to implement Leveson’s recommendation. The 30-minute talks were “frank and to the point”, and Cameron had agreed to ask the department to carry out the work after he was put under pressure by a “robust” Miliband.
  • 18:33
    More than 20 pages Leveson’s report focused on alternative news providers, including Twitter, which had “completely revolutionised” the market in which newspapers operate and are not part of a regulatory regime.

    While certain social media sites cooperate with UK law enforcement in cases of obvious criminality, he said control which “might have been possible in an earlier age” can now be “defeated instantly on Twitter or any one of many other social media sites, based out of the UK and not answerable to its laws”.
  • 18:40
    This last post brings an end to our liveblog coverage of the Leveson Inquiry report published today. Further updates will be available on irishtimes.com throughout the evening, and full coverage and analysis will be in the newspaper tomorrow.
    Thanks for joining us.