Mosley ruling is good news for PR

Max Mosley looked like a dead man walking after the News of the World vividly laid bare his bizarre private life. The fact that he was no more than a sick man with enough bounce left in his step to have his private fetishes replayed in a courtroom has profound implications for all of us.

We, and our clients, may be uneasy that Mosley is now effectively the patron saint of privacy. Many of us would have preferred that a reinforcement of the privacy law had been enshrined by Parliament.

Instead it has been ushered in by a series of judges' rulings (mainly made by Justice Eady) and a European directive.

But there is no doubt Justice Eady's latest ruling will bring real relief to the many high profile figures who find the UK to be an inhospitable and intrusive place in which to live. It has taken a huge step in effectively outlawing excessive tricks of tabloid entrapment.

For decades the News of the World has sold millions of copies each week with prurient stories dressed as morality tales. The victims have often been those whose exposure constituted a public service. But in many instances, the attack dogs have been unleashed on individuals whose position owed nothing either to public accountability or criminal gain. Those in our business who represent them should welcome the Eady ruling and absorb all its implications.

Chief among those is that the rules of privacy are now a more powerful weapon against unwarranted media intrusion than the laws of libel.

Among the hypocrisy exposed by the Mosley hearing has been that of middle-market and broadsheet newspapers. These publications, while righteously eschewing the News of the World modus operandi, increasingly sell off the back of reporting NoW stories secured by these methods. Most have now predictably joined the media hue and cry against Eady's 'backdoor privacy' ruling.

While the debate rages, clients can relax in the knowledge that future News of the World stories are likely to be more M and S than S and M.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in