A major overhaul of press regulation enshrined in a Royal charter was signed off by the Queen last night in a move that paves the way for state oversight of the press.
The charter, which was given the go-ahead by the privy council in a brief meeting at Buckingham Palace, provides the legal framework that will give MPs power over a new press regulator.
The new structure of regulation was agreed despite a last-ditch legal attempt by most newspaper groups to block it.
However, the regulatory structures are likely to be boycotted by many newspaper groups, which have expressed anger at a move they say could end centuries of press freedom.
By coincidence, the sign-off came as prosecutions over the phone-hacking scandal began at the Royal Courts of Justice, four years after the extent of the affair became known. The events prompted widespread outrage at the alleged practices at Rupert Murdoch’s News International group and boosted calls for an end to self-regulation of the press.
Newspaper groups including the publishers of the Times, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Mirror have all said they will continue their legal challenges and with their plans to set up a new independent regulator.
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