LONDON: British newspaper editors have signed up to implement all of Justice Brian Leveson's non-statutory recommendations at a summit in London and have agreed to kill off the Hunt-Black plan as a template for reform.
The editor of every significant title on Fleet Street - the old home of the British press and still its collective nickname - signed up to 40 of Lord Justice Leveson's first 47 recommendations, paving the way for the creation of an independent regulator with powers to levy fines of up to £1 million ($1.5 million) and operating a low-cost tribunal system to handle libel and privacy claims.
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The editors did not sign up to seven recommendations that proposed a role for Ofcom, the communications industry watchdog, or some other statutory body in auditing the work of the regulator, agreeing to wait to see what non-statutory proposals the Prime Minister's office at No.10 Downing Street would have to offer in the coming days.
The meeting, held at a restaurant in central London, was chaired by the editor of The Times, James Harding.
Those attending included the editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, who was absent from Tuesday's editors' meeting at Downing Street, and Dawn Neesom, the editor of the Daily Star, who was one of only two women. Ms Neesom had been represented at Downing Street by her publisher's editorial director.
The chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, David Hunt, will continue his work in setting up the new regulator and liaising with politicians. But it is understood he will be asked to work to the Leveson proposals agreed by the editors, rather than the old Hunt-Black plan.
Lord Hunt will no longer appoint the chairman of the appointments panel, which will choose the chairman and board of the new regulator.
Editors also agreed to wait for the Prime Minister, David Cameron's policy fixer, Oliver Letwin, to come back with proposals on how to toughen and support the regulator without recourse to statute. However, it was unclear what would happen if newspapers did not like the Letwin plan.
Other newspaper editors present included Alan Rusbridger from The Guardian, Dominic Mohan from The Sun, Tony Gallagher from the The Daily Telegraph, Lloyd Embley from the Daily Mirror, Lionel Barber from the Financial Times, Sarah Sands from the Evening Standard, and Fraser Nelson from the political magazine Spectator.
Guardian News & Media