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

So I think I had in mind the following thoughts. Suppose that most of us are interested in some grubby detail of some politician's private life. In some sense, you might think that's therefore a matter of public interest but I think that would be wrong. You might also think that what we have to do here is, on the one hand, balance respect for the politician's privacy with respect for what everyone -- everyone wanting to know it. And I just wanted to try and make clear that I think the bare fact we want to know it, it doesn't mean it's really in our interests or going to benefit us. I think if we thought about it in a quiet moment -- do we want to be the kind of people who know this grubby detail? Sometimes we do. Sometimes it's relevant and necessary to their ability to pursue their duties, but if it's simply knowing it for its own sake as a matter of nosiness, I'm not sure we would all think we really want that and therefore I'm not sure it's really in our interests and therefore I'm not sure it's really a matter of balancing the readers' interests against the politician's interests. The reader doesn't really have an interest.

That's not to say the press shouldn't be allowed to publish that. They probably should in a liberal society. I think it depends on the case. But I don't think it has to be seen as a matter of conflicting interests.

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