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Watchdog to review press regulation
Newspaper watchdog the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has announced it will launch a review of "all aspects of press regulation" in the wake of the latest News of the World phone hacking allegations.
The commission, composed of "editorial" figures such as newspaper editors and "public" members drawn from different areas of public life, said it accepts it has a responsibility to ensure "events of this sort" never happen again.
It said in a statement: "To that end, (the PCC) agreed that public members of the commission will lead a review of all aspects of press regulation in its current form, which will be designed to ensure that public confidence is enhanced.
"The commission will wish to review its own constitution and funding arrangements, the range of sanctions available to it and its practical independence."
Editorial members of the commission will also be involved in the review but the public members will set the agenda, a spokesman added.
PCC chairman Baroness Buscombe, a public member, said the status quo is "clearly not an option".
She added: "The PCC is determined to identify necessary reforms that will guarantee public confidence in press regulation.
"There is currently a major police investigation, which has the necessary powers of investigation and resources to identify the perpetrators of these criminal acts.
"However, the Commission is determined to play its part in bringing to a conclusion this shocking chapter, which has stained British journalism, and to ensure that good comes out of it."
The announcement came after the PCC discussed - and unanimously condemned - the hacking scandal at its regular meeting.
Its statement said: "The Press Complaints Commission discussed the admissions of the News of the World of its involvement in the hacking of the telephone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002.
"There have been similar claims made in regard to other victims of crime and tragedy.
"The Commission's members, both public and editorial, were unanimous in their condemnation.
"The Commission was very clear that this conduct was unacceptable and self-evidently undermined assurances given to the PCC by News International in the past."
And it could no longer stand by its 2009 report on phone hacking and the assertions made in it, it said.
The PCC's phone hacking review committee, established earlier this year, will "continue to work actively, and will establish protocols across the industry to improve standards in the future", the commission said.
The PCC is an independent, self-regulatory body that deals with complaints about the editorial content of newspapers and magazines and their websites.
It has been criticised in the past for not taking a tougher line when newspapers are deemed to have overstepped the mark.
Its 2009 report on phone hacking at the NotW said it had found no evidence that it was "materially misled" by the paper.
The report was branded "worse than pointless" by Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.