Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Max Mosley & privacy laws

Max Mosley doesn't seem to me to be the kind of person I'd choose to spend time with. His time at the FIA led to continuous battles with Bernie Ecclestone and the F1 teams, mainly around his own attempts to build a fiefdom. Does that mean, though, that he doesn't have the right to a private life?

We've seen recently a spate of 'superinjunctions' taken by celebrities, and also other actions to prevent publication of potentially damaging stories, including one preventing publication of details of an industial tribunal. Now, I don't have a problem with publishing stories where there is a clear public interest. So, neither the politician who parades his family on photocalls while having a girlfriend on the side, nor the celebrity who works for an anti-drug campaign yet sniffs coke on a night out should feel safe from the media.

But where there's no hypocrisy, corruption, or criminality, I don't think we should pry. It would be great to think that this could be done without legislation, but the press has shown over many years that it isn't really capable of self-regulation in this way as the need to sell papers inevitably holds sway.

In general, what Max Mosley gets up to in his spare time, and what damage it does to his marriage, is of no real concern to me - likewise the footballer and the Big Brother star, or the actor and the prostitute. If the press really think that they can self-regulate, then let's see it working. Let's have a clear definition of 'public interest' from the Press Complaints Commission so we all know where we stand, and - when a paper gets it wrong - clear apologies which are equally prominent to the original story with no distracting features alongside.

No comments:

Post a Comment

"Comments are free, facts are sacred." Unless, of course, you post something slanderous, libellous, bullying or in any way just plain nasty, in which case I will remove it.