As part of its report into press standards, privacy and libel, the Culture Media and Sport Committee had said there is currently no case for a general privacy law.
“Since the passage of the Human Rights Act, there have been a growing number of cases brought on grounds of privacy. While some argue that Parliament should introduce specific legislation in this area, it will still be for the Courts to interpret the law and seek to find the right balance between freedom of expression and the right to privacy. Each case will be different and we do not believe the case has been made for a general privacy law,” says John Whittingdale MP, who chaired the CMS committee.
“However, we are deeply concerned at the confusion that has arisen over the right of the press to report what is said in parliament. The free and fair reporting of proceedings in parliament is a cornerstone of our democracy and the government should quickly introduce a clear and comprehensive modern statute to put this freedom beyond doubt.”
The committee had the following to say about the reporting of parliamentary proceedings, an issue highlighted by Carter-Ruck’s attempt to gag the Guardian reporting a parliamentary question relating to oil trader Trafigura. The report recommended creating “a modern statute” to protect this reporting as an important element of freedom of speech.