Nick Cohen sums it all up very nicely when he writes in Sunday’s Guardian …
When censors try to restrict debate, democratic peoples must learn to reply with two words: that’s tough. “You want to use violence to stop criticism of religions that claim supernatural dominion over men’s minds and women’s bodies – that’s tough. You want to use libel law to stop scientists warning about the quack “cures” of chiropractic therapists – that’s tough. You want to use privacy law to prevent any mention of an alleged relationship between Sir Fred Goodwin and a colleague at the precise moment when he was taking the Royal Bank of Scotland over the cliff’s edge. Well, we can see why his tender feelings may be hurt, but this is a free society – so that’s tough too.”
The fact the some tosser of a footballer has had a fling with a model is not, and never has been, the real issue here. To be frank, does anybody actually care about such tittle-tattle (apart from the segments of the gutter press that the touts gossip as news). No, instead I believe that Nick nails it and goes right to the heart of the issue. There are questions that need to be addressed such as … Do we really wish to have a legal system where the law protects just the rich? … Should a judge alone be responsible for deciding what is and is not in the public interest?
It is not at all appropriate to gag the flow of information under the guise of “privacy” when in fact it is in the public interest to understand the abuses of power being committed by senior directors with other staff, thus creating huge conflicts of interest. You might be tempted to think of Fred Goodwin at RBS, or senior staff at Network Rail as examples of this, but you can’t because the press has been gagged and you are not permitted to know.
You can read the full article here along with reader comments.