Do footballers, pop stars and politicians deserve to have their indiscretions publicised, or is it none of our business who they are allegedly knocking off?
The latest revelations about “super injunctions” and gagging orders have catapulted the issues of privacy, freedom of the Press and the public interest into the spotlight.
Now publicity and hypocrisy go both ways – particularly where there’s cash to be made.
But at least what is decided in a court of law has gone through due legal process, whether or not you think the particular law is an ass or there is one law for the rich and one for the poor.
But, unfortunately, in the local news we try to give you, it appears armchair legal experts are holding sway.
Nowadays, here at Times Towers, we are continually being told what we can and can’t report by people who seem to be writing their own rules on the back of a cig packet.
Anyone and their auntie can now pronounce on a whim what is in the “public interest”.
Whether it is officialdom’s ham–fisted attempts to cover up a bad news story or the police deciding which pictures of criminals we can’t print, some of these spurious rules are just plain daft. Here’s a recent example.
To set the scene, where children are involved, their safety and privacy is paramount.
So, for obvious reasons, newspapers always go the extra mile to check whether parents have given consent for them to appear in pictures.
Recently, a school which shall be nameless, SENT us a picture of some pupils taking part in an activity. We asked if they could include a caption as usual, naming the kids from left to right. The answer came back: “We have been advised not to put the pupils’ names in order because of child protection issues... so we have put them on in no particular order.”
Which is about as much use as shuffling your hands – to stop someone identifying which one is right or left!