THE British media could end up being regulated by an 800-year-old secretive council in the latest thinking to overhaul the ethics and culture of the English press industry.

Prime Minister David Cameron has all but ruled out enacting laws to underpin the regulation of the British media as recommended by Lord Justice Leveson in his much vaunted report released last month in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

The move split his own government with his Coalition deputy Nick Clegg seeing statutory underpinning as the only way to keep the regulator independent, a move supported by the Labour opposition.

But now Mr Cameron is set to back the idea, proposed by his Cabinet, for the new independent media watchdog to be regulated instead by royal charter – a doctrine issued by the Queen to formally establish significant organisations for perpetuity.