From our readers: Public interest or interesting to public?

Your Reputation Survey on celebrities' right to privacy (Features, 17 September), complemented Schillings' recent report Private Life in the Public Eye, based on interviews with leading celebrities, their PROs and advisers.

Too often privacy is invaded, and reputations damaged, by the publication of stories that are untrue or where the main aim is to satisfy salacious curiosity about the lives of the rich and famous irrespective of the distress caused to them, their families and their friends.

Press freedom is protected where the story is in the public interest, but as a law firm we constantly have to argue the difference between what is of 'public interest' and what is simply 'interesting to the public'. Open any tabloid newspaper today and you will read stories about celebrities' personal relationships, families, private events and health issues, which in no way serve the public interest.

In our own survey earlier this year, the vast majority of people were in favour of the media having to give subjects prior notification before publishing damaging stories.

However in reality, very few are actually contacted. This is something we at Schillings are seeking to challenge, in line with the DCMS' recent recommendations.

Larina Mullins, associate, Schillings

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