Oct 9 - The UK's newspaper industry has failed to agree a new system of self-regulation. So was a long inquiry into press standards after the phone hacking scandal worth it? David Pollard reports
It was meant to end an era of newspapers making headlines for the wrong reasons. The Leveson inquiry - named after the senior judge heading it - took eighteen months to complete. At a cost of nearly £6 million. With nine months of hearings - involving heads of government, media tycoons and a string of celebrities. And the heart-wrenching testimony of parents of crime victims - who became victims themselves thanks to the phone hacking techniques of an unregulated press. Like the mother and father of murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler. SOUNDBITE (English) Sally Dowler (mother of murder victim, Milly Dowler), saying: "As soon as I was told it was about phone-hacking, literally I didn't sleep for about three nights because you are replaying everything in your mind." Newspapers regulating themselves was the central thrust of Leveson's proposals. But that ambition may have come to an end - when the Culture Minister, Maria Miller, rejected the industry's plan. SOUNDBITE (English) Maria Miller MP, UK Culture Minister, saying: "Whilst there are areas where it's clearly acceptable, there are some areas where it's unable to comply with some important Leveson principles." Leveson himself has remained tight-lipped on whether it was all worth it, or whether it went far enough. But he did defend the principle of a fair trial - the main reason, he says, for sparing some phone hacking suspects. SOUNDBITE (English) Lord Justice Leveson QC, saying: "I declined to permit questions about phone-hacking to those who were under investigation because I felt that even to say 'I don't want to answer on the grounds it might incriminate me' was itself prejudicial to them." Now it's the government's turn to present a plan for regulation. Final discussions for that begin later this month. It's thought they might bring in far tougher controls than the media would have wished for.