'Set up press watchdog fast,' Cameron tells UK editors

Doubting that laws will work to corral the scandal-ridden British press, the prime minister urged editors to move quickly to set up their own independent regulation.

LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron told a meeting of newspaper editors Tuesday they needed to set up an independent press regulator urgently.

A tough new regulator, backed by statute, was among the main recommendations of a major report last week on the ethics and practices of Britain's scandal-hungry press.

"I've just spoken to newspaper editors ... telling them they need to set up an independent regulator urgently," Cameron tweeted.

In his report last week, Lord Justice Brian Leveson said statutory backing for the news regulator was needed to ensure its independence and effectiveness.

Cameron however, has expressed doubts about the idea of legislation, which he feels would not work. His Liberal Democrat coalition partners and the Labor opposition have urged him to implement the Leveson report in full.

Cameron told BBC television after the meeting the editors had to move fast in setting up the new body.

"They've got to do it in a way that absolutely meets the requirements of Lord Justice Leveson's report," he said.

"That means million pound fines, proper investigation of complaints, prominent apologies, and a tough independent regulatory system.

"And they know, because I told them, the clock is ticking for this to be sorted out."