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KU professor Hacked Off at Prime Minister

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KU professor Brian Cathcart has set up a petition to regulate the press.

Lisa Moravec

A KU professor has set up a petition to convince the Prime Minister to implement new laws to regulate the press.

Journalism professor and director of the Hacked Off campaign, Brian Cathcart, has been a key figure throughout the inquiry, promoting Lord Leveson’s recommendations to introduce legislation to monitor the press and supporting victims of press intrusion such as Hugh Grant.

Leveson inquiry

The Leveson inquiry was launched in the wake of the now-defunct News of the World phone hacking scandal.

Actor Hugh Grant and the parents of missing child Madeleine McCann supported the investigation by giving evidence of the invasive journalistic practice they had endured.

Professor Cathcart said: “We want Cameron to implement Leveson’s recommendations straight away.”

Prime Minister David Cameron has opposed the introduction of a new regulatory system for the press, arguing that it will lead to an end of Britain’s press freedom.

Brian Cathcart

Professor Cathcart described Mr Cameron’s concerns as “pure fiction and complete nonsense”.

He said: “Following Lord Leveson’s plan would not in the least hinder the press from reporting what is in the public interest.

“Leveson concluded ‘beyond doubt‘ that the British press had repeatedly ignored its responsibilities and in doing so had ‘damaged the public interest, caused real hardship and, also on occasion, wreaked havoc in the lives of innocent people’.”

At the Conservative Party Conference the Prime Minister told Professor Cathcart that he planned to introduce a “sensible regulatory system” to prevent the press from wrongdoings.

Last week, 140,000 members of the public signed the Hacked Off petition, however some of these signatures were later found to be fake.

The Prime Minister is also facing resistance from 80 backbench MPs from all parties.

“We are hoping that the parties [the Lib Dems and Labour] can convince David Cameron to change his decision,” said Professor Cathcart.

However many newspapers, have voiced concerns over the possibility of being restricted by law.

KU senior lecturer and Daily Express news editor, Dan Townend, said: “I’m delighted the Prime Minister has seen sense. Freedom of the press is sacrosanct, it would be a tragedy if 300 years of press freedom was lost.”

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