Politicians slapped themselves on the back yesterday for sealing a deal for a new press regulator but media campaigners remained cautious.
Politicians of all stripes claimed it would enforce much tougher regulation, with the ability to impose fines of up to £1 million and force apologies to be printed prominently.
Prime Minister David Cameron had previously said he would not accept a "press law," while Labour and the Lib Dems wanted regulations to have a "statutory underpinning."
The deal provides for "independent self-regulation" set out in a royal charter, rather than in law.
But the regulator could be undermined if newspapers boycott it.
Press reform campaign group Hacked Off said it was satisfied that the regulator would be "genuinely independent" but using a royal charter was the "second best" option.
Meanwhile a spokeswoman for press freedom group Index on Censorship said: "The involvement of politicians undermines the fundamental principle that the press holds politicians to account."
And the National Union of Journalists gave the deal a guarded welcome.
General secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: "Now we need agreement from the new regulator to introduce a conscience clause for journalists, as part of the code, to protect them from being forced to act unethically - this was supported Lord Leveson in his recommendations."
Foreign Minister Alistair Burt's admission that the Cameron government has "supported" a survey of attitudes to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas amounts to a tacit admission of British involvement.