British inquiry calls for law to underpin press watchdog

LONDON Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:36pm GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - A far-reaching inquiry into British newspapers called for a new independent body to regulate the press, backed by law, to prevent a repeat of the excesses which led to a phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid.

Senior judge Brian Leveson said the recommendations would in no way allow parliament to regulate the newspapers, but his proposals will put Prime Minister David Cameron on a collision course with an already hostile press and senior members of his government if he accepts the findings.

The inquiry was ordered by Cameron following public outrage at Murdoch's now defunct tabloid whose staff routinely hacked into phones, including that of schoolgirl Milly Dowler who was later found dead.

(Reporting by Kate Holton)

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