On Friday, Guardian columnist Alexander Chancellor’s criticised the News of the World’s recent ‘exposés’ of John Terry’s father and the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson.
I not only disagree with the NoW’s [News of the World’s] claims that it is in the public interest to expose offences that would never have taken place without its involvement; I think the newspaper should be stopped from creating any more of them.
In a letter to the Guardian on Saturday, Bill Akass, managing director of the News of the World, responds to the columnist in no uncertain terms:
The News of the World did not set out to trap the Duchess of York into doing something that was out of character. As was made clear in the story, we had credible evidence that she was already touting access to her former husband to businessmen before we approached her.
Once our reporter had established contact with Sarah Ferguson, she set the terms of the deal and was an enthusiastic participant throughout.
(…) Mr Chancellor clearly did not read the full background to these cases, or worse, selectively chose to ignore inconvenient facts because they do not suit his argument. Either way it shows surprising lack of journalistic rigour from someone seeking to lecture others on press standards.
Full letter at this link…
More from Nick Davies in the investigative journalist’s ongoing exposés of phone hacking by the British press: the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a new, official inquiry into suspected interception of voicemail messages linked to tabloid reporting of Vanessa Perroncel and her alleged affair with England and Chelsea footballer John Terry.
The evidence focuses on the phone records of Vanessa Perroncel and of one of her close friends, Antonia Graham. Perroncel was accused by tabloids of having an affair with Terry.
One allegation involves the interception of a live telephone call between the two women, a more serious offence than listening to phone messages.
Published in February, the findings of a Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into press standards, privacy and libel said the News of the World and other newspapers turned a blind eye to illegal phone hacking and ‘blagging’ (the practice of obtaining information through deception), contradicting a Press Complaints Commission report published in November.
According to Davies’ new report, Perroncel’s lawyers have also formally warned seven national newspapers that she is planning to sue them for privacy breaches.
Full story at this link…
Writing in MediaGuardian this morning, Index on Censorship news editor, Padraig Reidy, discusses whether last week’s ruling by Justice Tugendhat in the John Terry case means courts will be less willing to issue super-injunctions.
The increasingly aggressive pursuit of privacy actions is often an attempt to entirely dictate what is published about a person (or in the case of Trafigura, a corporation). Friday’s ruling, combined with Trafigura’s epic failure to suppress information, suggests that courts may be less willing to issue such injunctions in future. And perhaps sensible solicitors will be less willing to seek them.
In another Guardian.co.uk piece, Guardian columnist Marcel Berlins argues that ‘unusual’ elements of Terry’s case affected the Justice Tugendhat’s decision on this occasion:
Perhaps, post-Tugendhat, judges will not grant injunctions quite so readily, but there will be no revolution. And predictions of the demise of the superinjunction have been greatly exaggerated.