Fascination with people’s lives is natural, and journalism has changed. We need a more nuanced debate on press intrusion.
Does William and Kate’s baby actually exist? You could be forgiven for wondering, given how few times George has actually been seen: he wasn’t there again for the Sandringham Christmas walkabout. With only two public appearances, and one family snap, he may be the least-seen royal baby of the photographic era. Presumably he is occasionally pushed outside the gates of the Middleton family home, but there are no paparazzi to snap him. These are post-Leveson days and there has been no greater beneficiary than the royal family, around whose privacy the press now gently treads.
George’s invisibility is in startling contrast to the coverage of William and Harry’s early years. By the mid-80s, tabloids were eagerly snapping away and speculating on everything they saw: whether or not Diana was breastfeeding, and who the nannies and playdates were. Diana played along, often co-operating with the press to allow casual and intimate photos.
Committed republicans probably welcome this invisibility: the less we hear about this boring family the better. But invisibility and mystique in fact serve monarchist causes far more effectively than public scrutiny.
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Paul McMullan’s views are callous, but it’s true that privacy can be a cloak that hides as well as a sanctuary that protects
If you were planning to write a play about the phone hacking scandal – and I’m sure someone is – then the worst tabloid journalists will be drawn just like Paul McMullan who yesterday gave evidence at the Leveson inquiry. A more off-putting example of the species it would be hard to invent, and yesterday, like a pantomime villain, he stepped out from the shadows to spill the beans. Yes, phone hacking and other dubious practices had been routine. At no point did he appear more villainous than his breathtaking defence of these practices on the ground that “privacy is the space that bad people need to do bad things in”.
Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/30/leveson-inquiry-media-privacy
It was the Dowlers’ suffering that finally brought phone hacking to public attention. Their pain should never be forgotten
The settlement between Rupert Murdoch and the Dowler family announced this week, and the photos that accompanied it, were a powerful reminder that it was the fate of one young girl and the ongoing suffering of her family that is at the heart of the phone-hacking story. Murdoch’s empire foundered eventually not on dirty tricks employed with spoilt celebrities but because his employees added to the suffering of a family who had already suffered too much.
Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/sep/21/dowlers-phone-hacking-power-elite