The arguments over the report’s findings broadly split into two camps – those who believe statute is needed to prevent the press from committing acts that “wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people”, and those who fear state intervention in the media will grossly undermine the freedom of the media.
The split has also been between victims of the press and figures in the media. On one side are figures such as Neil Wallis, former editor of the News of the World, who said in a Channel 4 News live video debate that the use of statute will “neuter the British press”. On the other, figures such as Gerry McCann, who told Krishnan Guru-Murthy that the press has already shown it cannot be trusted to regulate itself.
Other figures from the media such as legendary journalist Carl Bernstein, who uncovered the Watergate scandal, and News International Chief Executive Tom Mockridge, have also said they are against statutory regulation.
Press victims like Anne Diamond have welcomed Lord Justice Leveson’s findings. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has been supportive due to incentives offered in the report for the press to sign up to a new regulator, which could see a speedy and cheaper resolution to defamation cases.
In the world of politics, a split in the coalition has emerged after David Cameron rejected the use of statute to regulate the press, while his coalition counterpart Nick Clegg sided with the Labour leader Ed Miliband in calling for full implementation of the findings of Lord Justice Leveson’s findings.