The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

There are issues in terms of what people agree private information should be. There's -- and where criminality starts and where it stops. These grey lines have come up in so many cases, particularly, for instance, just to give you an example, where -- if a journalist is looking into a public person in a position of authority who they suspect might have committed a criminal offence, if they haven't committed that criminal offence, you know, at what point do you get to where it's okay to investigate? Same goes for areas of privacy law. When does your privacy start and stop? When do you first become a public person?

So, for instance, if I was addressing some students, like you sometimes do, who might, in ten years' time, have a career which takes them into the public domain, if they become a public figure, does what they did yesterday -- is that still private? Can that be revealed? And should we be frightened, even when we're not a public person, of what we've done or said now? Will that be exposed later? There has to be a certain amount of personal autonomy and freedom to be, without fear that you're going to be a role model in five years' time.

So I think a lot of the law is very grey in that -- well, actually, the law isn't grey. I think a lot of the areas of interpretation of the law is grey if you're looking at it from the point of view of how a journalist or a tabloid newspaper might interpret it or how the PCC might interpret it and how the person whose private information it concerns interprets it, and then how the public might perceive it. I think it's deeply complex.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech