Hack targets say PM has failed them

The best-selling novelist J.K. Rowling says she is ''alarmed and dismayed'' at the response of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, to the Leveson report.

The Harry Potter author, who gave evidence about press intrusion into her family's privacy to the inquiry into media practice by Lord Justice Brian Leveson, argued that without statutory underpinning, the recommendations would fail.

She said she had been left feeling ''duped and angry'' by Mr Cameron's hesitance to ''cross the Rubicon'' and introduce a press law.

''I thought long and hard about the possible consequences to my family of giving evidence and finally decided to do so because I have made every possible attempt to protect my children's privacy under the present system, and failed,'' she said. ''If I, who can afford the very best lawyers, cannot guarantee the privacy of those dearest to me, what hope did the Dowlers, the McCanns and the Watsons ever have of protecting their own children and their own good names?''

The father of Madeleine McCann, one of several families of child victims of crime who appeared at the inquiry, said his evidence would prove ''almost useless'' if the recommendations were not implemented.

Gerry McCann urged politicians to ''do the right thing'' and accept the recommendations in full.


The coverage of the disappearance of Madeleine, who went missing while on a family holiday in Portugal in 2007, was given by Leveson as an example of how stories ran ''totally out of control''.

Madeleine's mother, Kate McCann, told the inquiry last year she felt like ''climbing into a hole and not coming out'' after the News of the World printed her diary.

Speaking after the release of the report, Mr McCann said: ''The only reason we went to Leveson was to effect change and if Leveson's report isn't implemented in full, then I would say that giving evidence for all of the victims has been almost useless.''

Rowling said without statutory underpinning, ''we will be left with yet another voluntary system from which the press can walk away''.

''If the Prime Minister did not wish to change the regulatory system even to the moderate, balanced and proportionate extent proposed by Lord Leveson, I am at a loss to understand why so much public money has been spent and why so many people have been asked to relive extremely painful episodes.'' Last year, she told the inquiry journalists had driven her out of her home and targeted her five-year-old daughter at school.

Press Association