David Cameron is keeping an open mind about the future regulation of the press and will make no decisions before he has seen Lord Justice Leveson's eagerly-anticipated report, Downing Street has insisted.
Amid mounting speculation about the Prime Minister's plans for a new framework to oversee the behaviour of newspapers, it is reported that he will reject full-blown state regulation.
The Mail on Sunday claimed that he would back a new, tougher model of self-regulation to replace the Press Complaints Commission - but with the threat that a statutory system could be brought in later if matters do not improve.
But Number 10 has played down any suggestion that the Prime Minister had already made up his mind on the Leveson report, which is supposed to be shrouded in secrecy until its publication on Thursday.
Mr Cameron and some other senior Government figures will have access to it on Wednesday so that he can make a substantive response when it is released.
"The Prime Minister is open-minded about Lord Justice Leveson's report and will read it in full before he makes any decision about what to do," a spokesman said.
Victims of press intrusion are calling for an independent regulator, backed up by law, while editors fear that statutory regulation could serve only to limit press freedom.
Thursday's report follows the first part of the Leveson Inquiry looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the press, and will include recommendations for press regulation.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday that he is a "big supporter of press freedom", but wants to read the Leveson report before pronouncing on it.
"None of us have seen the report yet," he told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show. "So, although I'm a big supporter of the freedom of the press, I'm also a big supporter of actually reading something before you pronounce on it. We will have to do that, but in my case, from that philosophical viewpoint, that you have to err on the side of freedom."