David Cameron has said that while he agrees with ‘Leveson’s principals’ he rejects the central proposal, warning that new legislation could ultimately infringe on free speech and a free press.
Risking the wrath of the victims of phone hacking, he said parliament had been the ‘bulwark of democracy’ over the centuries and MPs should think very carefully before crossing such a line, reports The Guardian.
Leveson’s report summary said the purpose of legislation is “not to establish a body to regulate the press”. But he warns that if newspapers are not prepared to join a revamped PCC it will be necessary to force Ofcom to act as a “backstop regulator”.
Cameron argued that the legislation required to underpin a regulatory body would create a vehicle for politicians to impose regulation and obligations on the press in the future.
Instead, he suggested, other options should be explored for putting in place incentives, providing reassurance to the public and ensuring the remaining Leveson proposals are put in place. Cameron added the status quo was not an option and he would give the press a limited amount of time to set up a new regulatory system.
Labour leader backed Leveson’s proposals and called for reform, saying “on behalf of every decent British citizen who wants protection for people like the Dowlers; who wants a truly free press, a press that can expose abuse of power without abusing its own. We must act.”
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