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Leveson Report: Maria Miller To Meet With Top Editors To Urge Action Over Watchdog

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Culture Secretary Maria Miller will meet with the newspaper industry's leading editors next week in an effort to urge the press to act on the Leveson Report and set up a new watchdog.

Miller will warn that the press it must not drag its feet when it comes to acting on Lord Justice Leveson's calls to devise an independent regulatory body.

On Friday, Miller said that the "principles" of the judge's blueprint could be met without statutory backing, and will use the meeting to reiterate that to Fleet Street.

maria miller

Miller will urge the press' top editors to fast-track a new watchdog

Lord Hunt of Wirral, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), who will also attend, told The Times he wanted a speedy industry resolution to help persuade the public and MPs laws were not needed to underpin the new regulator.

"There's an awful lot we can agree on and I have suggested to the industry (that we) all read the report, digest it and seek out the common ground and unite with one voice," he said.

The meeting with Miller will come the day before editors on the Code of Practice Committee, chaired by Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, meet to decide how to tackle the Leveson recommendations.

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Lord Justice Leveson's report urged the press to conceive a new watchdog

David Cameron is under intense pressure to drop his opposition to a law backing up the new watchdog the press have been tasked with devising.

Cameron has told MPs he has "serious misgivings" about Lord Justice Leveson's recommendation for independent self-regulation of the press underpinned by law.

However the coalition is split on the issue, with Nick Clegg backing the legal underpinning of press regulation.

Ed Miliband said Labour "unequivocally endorses" Leveson's proposal that any new regulatory body should be set out in statute.

The Prime Minister faced a backlash from victims of media intrusion over his resistance to legislation and last night best-selling novelist JK Rowling, who gave evidence to the inquiry, waded into the row saying she was "alarmed and dismayed" at the way he had responded.

On Thursday, Lord Justice Leveson condemned the "culture of reckless and outrageous journalism" that dominated sections of the press for decades as he unveiled the findings of his 16-month inquiry.

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