The issue of a body to regulate the press came to the fore in 2011, when UK Prime Minister David Cameron launched the Leveson Inquiry reviewing the practice and ethics of the British press. The probe was prompted by a phone hacking scandal, where it emerged that reporters from the now defunct News of the World newspaper illegally accessed hundreds of cell phone accounts.
The report’s authors said that the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), a voluntary regulatory body, needs more public confidence, while the Independent Monitor for the Press (Impress) may seek legal recognition, but currently lacks publishers’ membership.
The report urged the government to promptly resolve the issue of press regulation.
In 2012, the Leveson report recommended the creation of an independent self-regulatory watchdog free of any influence from industry and the government and able to carry out investigations into both suspected serious or systemic breaches of the code.