Lord Justice Leveson has 'no truck' with censorship


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The Independent Online

A judge overseeing an inquiry into press standards today said he would have “no truck” with censorship.

Lord Justice Leveson spelled out his position after the head of a press watchdog suggested that statutory regulation of journalists might lead to censorship.

He told the Leveson Inquiry in London: "I have absolutely no truck with censorship."

Lord Justice Leveson was speaking after Lord Hunt, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, raised concerns about the implications of any system of statutory regulation.

Lord Hunt said he was uncomfortable about a statutory system which might lead to censorship and said the taxpayer should not have to finance regulation of the press.

He added: "Do we really need a press law to highlight the need for a cultural change?"

Lord Hunt said he had put forward proposals for a new system of self regulation - funded by publishers.

"If we receive the green light we will immediately move to set up a new body," Lord Hunt told the inquiry.

"I am pleading for an opportunity to make progress now."

Lord Justice Leveson said any decision would not be his.

"I'm afraid I don't have coloured lights in my armoury," said the judge.

"I will provide a report that will make a recommendation but it will not be my decision."

Lord Hunt has told the inquiry, in a witness statement: "I do... have genuine and profound misgivings about directly involving the state - ministers, civil servants or even parliamentarians - in anything that might chill freedom of expression arbitrarily and unnecessarily."