Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Murdoch’s Cowboys And His Red-Top’s Contempt

CorruptionTHE FACT THAT THOUSANDS OF POUNDS were approved by Sun executives as regular payments to corrupt officials in return for ‘information’ has largely come as a complete surprise to me. You cannot be a journalist without soon discovering that a significant number of highly placed individuals within Britain’s establishments expect a quid pro quo in any dealings with the Press; but in all my forty-odd working years I can honestly say I have never once paid any of my sources for their information – and I do not personally know of any colleagues who do.

I have no compunction about reimbursing sources their expenses; buying them meals; treating them to a drink; or paying for their cab fares – but I sure as hell would never pay them for information; because that is the one way I am most likely to hear what I want to hear. Paid informants lie, and the greater the payments: the more they are encouraged to do so – and the more likely they are to use their positions to create events that might lead to a lucrative tale.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Private Celebrity Lives Of Legitimate Interest To The Media

ECHR BuildingAS THE LEVESON ENQUIRY reaches the end of its second stage, I find that one of my serious reservations about its possible findings has been relieved from a most unexpected quarter.

Like most journalists I have been appalled by recent court rulings that have enabled celebrities, politicians, and rich business people to serve injunctions on the press and prevent the publication of photographs and articles by using Human Rights legislation to prevent their seedy secrets from ever reaching the light of day; but, this week, in landmark judgments involving a cocaine-possessing German TV actor and Princess Caroline of Monaco, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that the private lives of celebrities are of legitimate interest to the media.