Newspaper bosses find accord on regulation without the state

NEWSPAPER editors yesterday reached a broad agreement over new systems of press regulation, agreeing to many of Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals but ruling out any state interference.

At a breakfast meeting in central London yesterday, Fleet Street bosses signed up to the majority of the Leveson report’s recommendations, including a revamped system of complaints and a new, independent, board.

However, they rejected proposals to allow intervention from any state body, including the communications regulator, Ofcom.

The concessions displayed a move away from the previously proposed “Hunt-Black plan”, set up by Press Complaints Commission chair Lord Hunt of Wirral and Telegraph Media Group board member Lord Black of Brentwood. The plan was previously backed by the industry but criticised by both Lord Justice Leveson and David Cameron.

The editors’ rapid agreement, coming the day after crunch talks with the Prime Minister, will cheer the opponents of a new press law.

Cameron has been staunch in his opposition to the central recommendation of Lord Justice Leveson’s report, which was to introduce legislation.

However, he has warned the industry that if it does not implement many of the report’s other proposals, state interference may become necessary.

The industry will now formally put forward its plans.