It is almost universally accepted that Lord Justice Leveson will propose a far more stringent model of press regulation – after all, the Leveson Inquiry was established as the direct result of serious shortcomings in the current system. But as for the new landscape, the devil really is in the detail.
While the current PCC Editors’ Code includes provisions that appear to recognise and uphold a right of privacy, these are heavily qualified and in practice have been applied weakly.
There can be little doubt that the PCC has failed to provide adequate means of redress not just to phone hacking victims but to others who have clearly suffered from unjustifiable press intrusion.
A new regulator will need to have greater independence than the PCC, and will also need a crucial ‘bite’ – proper sanctions which will not only offer appropriate redress to complainants but will also be sufficient to deter the press from riding roughshod over privacy rights in the first place.
It’s expected that Leveson LJ will recommend changes along these lines, but whether they are sufficient for the new regulator to offer a credible alternative to the courts remains to be seen.