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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The right to privacy

The sixth Liberal Democrat in the UK Cabinet, Ken Clarke has come out with some very sensible comments this morning regarding the on-going debate on the right to privacy.

According to the Telegraph, Mr. Clarke has indicated that a new privacy law will be introduced but, crucially, he also warns that the public is not entitled to “know about the sex lives of footballers”.

The Justice Secretary said there were “areas of privacy” where Britons could expect to be protected, but added he was uneasy about the use of super-injunctions, which prevent the public from knowing if a gagging order has even been obtained.

Apparently, more than 80 injunctions have been taken out by well-known people, including Premier League footballers, actors and an MP.

It must surely be the case that a privacy law is preferable to a raft of injunctions and super-injunctions. After all privacy should not only be available to the rich.
"the public is not entitled to “know about the sex lives of footballers”

Except where there might be a public interest issue (as opposed to one which interests the public).

I have no particular interest in 22 supposedly grown men kicking a ball around for ridiculous amounts of money but I would have thought that the matter of an England footballer and team captain having an affair with a team-mate's girlfriend is hardly conducive to good team morale and might therefore be considered a a matter of genuine public interest to supporters of the team
But this stuff is on the wire in, for example,the USA, and I beg to differ, if the applicant for a privacy injunction is a married politician then I think there's a public interest consideration. The freedom of the press should not be limited by such injunctions. The press has limitations - if they defame someone then there is redress under the law.
Christopher Wood, Attorney at Law (USA)
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