An investigation into the working practices of the British newspaper industry has opened in London.
The Leveson Inquiry was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron, after it was revealed that the News of the World tabloid had ordered hacking of the voicemail of a missing schoolgirl, who was later found murdered.
The investigation will run for a year and could lead to tougher regulation of the entire UK press.
“The inquiry must balance the desire for a robustly free press with the rights of the individual, while at the same time ensuring the critical relationships between the press, parliament, the government and the police are maintained,” said inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson.
“The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life, that is why any failure within the media affects all of us,’‘ he added.
Evidence is expected to be heard on behalf of Harry Potter author JK Rowling, the actor Hugh Grant and the parents of Madeleine McCann, a toddler who disappeared in Portugal.
The inquiry has heard that tabloids other than the News of the World, which was closed down in the summer, may have also illegally accessed phones.
The court was told that a private detective had written “Daily Mirror” and “The Sun” in his notebooks.
The names of 28 News of the World reporters were also said to have been found.