UK press needs laws to back self-regulation - Leveson

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The British press should have a new self-regulatory body underpinned by legislation, a major inquiry set up after the phone-hacking scandal recommended on Thursday.

Senior judge Brian Leveson said legislation would provide "an independent process to recognise the new self-regulatory body and reassure the public that the basic requirements of independence and effectiveness were met".

In his recommendations after hearing eight months of evidence, the judge said the press had ignored its own code of conduct in a way that had "wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people" on too many occasions over the last decade.

He said there had been a "recklessness in prioritising sensational stories" irrespective of the harm that may be caused to the subjects of the stories.

And he said politicians of all parties had developed "too close a relationship with the press in a way which has not been in the public interest".

Prime Minister David Cameron set up the inquiry in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid, which was closed as a result of the scandal.