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Yahoo! News reports from inside the Leveson Inquiry announcement

An eight-month inquiry which took evidence from 184 witnesses finally concluded in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in central London, less than a mile from the West End and a stones throw from the Houses of Parliament.

As journalists, campaigners and media commentators filed into a dimly-lit conference room on Thursday lunchtime, they did so anticipating a statement which could change the workings of the UK press forever.

Lord Justice Leveson announced the findings of his eight-month inquiry which took evidence from 184 witnesses and finally concluded in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in central London, less than a mile from the West End and a stone's throw from the Houses of Parliament.

All manner of witnesses - Cabinet ministers, tabloid editors, film stars, and members of the public forced into the media spotlight - have given detailed evidence to Lord Justice Leveson, in what has been a wide-ranging inquiry.

The announcement itself saw Lord Justice Leveson call for legislation to underpin a "genuinely independent and effective system of self-regulation".

His statement added that a watchdog is needed to curb the press 'havoc' of recent years.

The importance of today's announcement was reflected in the media presence outside the QEII Conference Centre.

It seemed as if every single UK national media outlet had turned up - dozens of news crews had assembled outside, including several international TV channels who had taken an interest in the story.

Protesters were determined to have their say outside the Leveson announcement today (PA)


One senior political journalist said he had not seen a media throng like it since Tony Blair gave evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry.

Inside the Mountbatten Room, the audience of around 100 people - mostly journalists and members of the 'Hacked Off' group who have campaigned for tighter press regulation, sat in silence as Lord Leveson delivered his verdict.

Sat at the front of the room was Robert Jay QC, who quizzed dozens of high-ranking editors, ministers, and celebrities during the evidence-gathering process.

In an eloquent, articulate and concise statement, Leveson reasoned that although 'having a policeman in every newsroom is not the answer', having 'a model with editors on the board is still the press marking its
own homework'.

Weighty: Lord Leveson's 2,000-page report, issued today (PA)At the start of the speech Leveson said this was the seventh time the UK press has been investigated.

When he closed his speech by declaring that 'it makes no sense to contemplate an eighth', the conference room broke into a spontaneous applause.

Leveson proclaimed that 'the ball is now in the court of the politicians... to decide who is the guard of the guardians'.

This final declaration drew shouts of 'Hear, hear!' from members of Hacked Off.

Lord Justice Leveson wrapped up the announcement by saying he wouldn't be taking any questions afterwards, or giving a statement.

When a reporter shouted, 'Did you enjoy it, Sir Brian?', Leveson barely broke stride and ignored the question completely in exiting the room.

Outside, the huge media pack were left to digest the comments, along with the contents of the 2,000-page report.

Ian Dunt, a lobby journalist and editor of politics.co.uk said: "The announcement was more moderate than what was expected - I thought he was going to be much more robust."

Commentators were overheard saying they would give Leveson's performance and findings 'a six or seven out of ten', adding that he 'could've gone further but it could've been a lot weaker'.

Where press regulation goes from here is a matter still up for debate - Lord Justice Leveson has made his recommendations, and it is up to the Government how they are implemented.

Richard Peppiatt, a former tabloid journalist-turned broadcaster and Hacked Off supporter, said Leveson's judgement was 'the start of a negotiation rather than the final say'.

He said: "I'm cautiously pleased - he has rejected the proposals made by the press and said there needs to be an independent body.

"David Cameron will find it very hard not to implement the findings."