Monday 4 April 2011

'Scandal-hungry media don't care about privacy'

Columnist Libby Purves in The Times today argues that the moral case over privacy is "gleefully ignored by scandal-hungry media which don’t give a damn about the boundary between private and public."

She claims: "There is no moral value whatsoever in the tabloid theory that once somebody has mentioned their personal life or marriage in an interview or memoir, they lose for ever the right to keep anything to themselves. That is like saying that because you once had dental treatment, anybody may kick your teeth in.

"Many stories printed about individuals, not just famous ones, constitute in morality (not law) a kind of mental trespass. Almost an assault."

Purves, in reference to privacy injunctions, adds: "The whole area is a mess, not least because both sides behave badly. Weaselling celebrities and companies with their tame judges are doing something very wrong; but so are media who profit by revealing things that aren’t our business. For legal improvements we can campaign; but when it comes to journalism, alas, the only remedy is the market. If prurient gossip didn’t sell papers and draw mouse-clicks, it wouldn’t happen."
  • The Times is behind a paywall.
  • The Times has run a leader criticising the increasing number of super-injunctions protecting privacy (see post below).

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