Press-ethics report on hacking soon to be published

LONDON — The British judge overseeing the media-ethics inquiry triggered by News Corp.’s phone-hacking and bribery scandals said his report, requested last year by Prime Minister David Cameron, will be published Nov. 29.

Judge Brian Leveson, who posted the timeline Thursday on the website for the inquiry, heard testimony earlier this year from News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, as well as media critics, hacking victims, politicians, police officers and a range of journalists from the country’s newspapers and tabloids.

Cameron established the probe in July 2011 after revelations about the extent of voice-mail interception at News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid and allegations of widespread bribery at its Sun title. Leveson will suggest possible changes in the way the media is regulated, though the government isn’t required to enact his proposed guidelines.

Leveson plans “to make an on-camera statement about his findings immediately after publication,” the inquiry said in an e-mailed statement.

The inquiry examined the relationship between the press, police, politicians and the public. Victims and tabloid critics testified the media were too cozy with law enforcement and lawmakers, creating a potential conflict of interest when it faced investigations or government scrutiny.

Cameron testified at the inquiry in June about his ties to News Corp., including a friendship with Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive officer of the company’s British unit who has been charged with phone hacking, bribery and conspiring to cover up the scandal. The prime minister’s former press chief, Andy Coulson, also worked for the News Corp. unit and has been charged with phone hacking and bribery.

Cameron will be among a limited number of politicians who will see the Leveson’s report a day early and he will comment on the day of publication, his spokeswoman Vickie Sheriff told reporters in London Thursday. The government will schedule a parliamentary debate for Dec. 3, she said.

News Corp., based in New York, has spent more than $315 million on civil settlements, legal fees and costs of closing the News of the World. More than 80 people have been arrested and more than a dozen have been charged.

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