Monday, March 18, 2013

Parliament Expected to Pass Press Regulatory Package

English: US President Barack Obama and British...
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Embattled English Prime Minister David Cameron dodged a potentially embarrassing parliamentary defeat when U.K. lawmakers Monday agreed in prinicple on a compromise  package that introduces controls on the country's scandal-crazed press, Reuters news service reported.

The proposed legislation that has garnered support from Cameron's Conservative Party and  lawmakers from the opposition Labour and Liberal Democrats would impose fines of up to one million pounds ($1,511,253) on offending journalists, force newspapers to publish prominent apologies and create a press regulator. Parliament was spurred on by Rupert Murdoch's News of the World press phone hacking scandal that led to hearings in 2011-2012 and a report in November 2012, by Lord Justice Leveson that recommended, among other reforms, replacement of the Press Complaints Commission by an independent regulator with sharper teeth.

Before legislators from the three major parties ironed out whether the proposed legislation would create a press regulator and how members of the overseer would be selected, Parliament was scheduled to vote Monday on Cameron's proposal, under which the press was more self-regulatory.  Cameron had argued his  proposed measure was more sensitive to the importance of a free press, but critics claimed the package was watered-down and a reflection of the too-cozy relationship between politicians and the press.

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