UK Liberty

Paul Dacre laughable

Posted in freedom of speech by ukliberty on November 12, 2008

I can’t add anything substantive to HeadofLegal’s opinion on Paul Dacre’s recent comments on the ‘threats’ to the press:

… this outburst is laughably excessive, self-serving and misleading. It is not just nonsense, but binged-up intoxicated happy-hour nonsense in the way it lashes out angrily at someone just doing his job.

David Osler pointed out that,

however ‘perverted’ and ‘depraved’ our self-styled defender of decency and civilised behaviour considered Mosley’s conduct to be, that didn’t stop him running a series of circulation-boosting salacious front covers, accompanied by two double page spreads inside and some angry opinion pieces to boot.

I would add that what Eady rightly said is that there is a difference between ‘the public interest’ and ‘something the public is interested in’. He dealt with all of Dacre’s complaints in the Mosley judgement (Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd), ahead of time. And, as HeadofLegal pointed out, the judgment is actually quite friendly to the media.

What Dacre is really annoyed about (although it does seem like faux outrage) is that the press does not have an absolute right to spy on people in private and report on their consensual activities, particularly if they fictionalise aspects of the event post hoc in order to prop up a public interest defence (the ‘Nazi’ bit and allegations of assault) should there be legal action!

It is perhaps also worth noting that the journalist who exposed Mosley attempted to blackmail two of the women involved. It is interesting that Paul Dacre, who believe it is “the duty of the media to take an ethical stand”, is so supportive of a newspaper that employs liars and blackmailers.

A commenter on the Guardian version of Paul Dacre’s speech made an incisive point:

Have I misunderstood something, or isn’t this whole speech just a “truthy” attack (qv. Colbert) on an individual judge that Paul Dacre doesn’t like very much, because that judge persists in putting the rights of individual people to do what they like in private above the rights of some shitrag to splash it all over their front page in order to raise their sales, then cover their moral arses with lots of ultra-hypocritical tutting, preening and moralising?

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One Response

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  1. David Mery said, on November 12, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Powerful comment on this by Geoffrey Robertson QC at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/11/humanrights-privacy

    br -d


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