Would the PCC have backed Max Mosley and spanked the News of the World?
The Press Complaints Commission is probably glad that it did not have to adjudicate over the revelations in the News of the World about F1 president Max Mosley. The issue seems to have divided the media and flared up again with Paul Dacre's speech at the Society of Editors' conference attacking Mr. Justice Eady's ruling in favour of protecting Mosley's right to privacy. Dacre described Mosley's behaviour in paying women to spank him as "unimaginable sexual depravity". But what would the PCC have done? Talking to those in the know at the SoE conference was interesting. They believe that the PCC would have had to have found against the NoW because there were no overwhelming public interest grounds for invading Mosley's privacy. That would have been a highly controversial decision at a time when the PCC is worried that the poor financial state of the media may lead to calls to cut its budget, which is solely funded by the newspaper and magazine industry.
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
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