Brian Cathcart professor of journalism at Kingston University recent article on for the ‘Index of Censorship’ really strikes a chord with me, he really highlights the idiocy of the stance held by many red top/tabloid journalists in regard to the privacy debate. Carthart makes the distinction between journalists – “One group is the actual journalists, as traditionally understood, and the other is those people whose principal professional activity is invading other people’s privacy for the purpose of publication.” Carthart goes on to argue that these privacy invaders are creating a “crisis which threatens to compromise and damage the journalism that is done in the public interest’.
The problem with the most recent privacy controversy surrounding Ryan Giggs is that journalists are reporting about themselves, therefore it is not surprising that many fail to approach the subject with much objectivity. Furthermore, it is clear that many journalists are going to fight super injunctions as these threaten their career – can you imagine the News of the World, for example without scandal? Public interest’ more like their interest!
There have been so many incidents of the press over stepping the mark and invading privacy in the name of public interest. The Max Mosely and Madeline McCann cases are two examples identified by Cathcart. He argues that despite being brought to account for libel, many, if not all the newspapers have not changed their ways. The Express were forced to pay a reported £550,000 in damages for libel surrounding the McCann case and Cathart states: “what soul-searching followed? What did the then editor of the Daily Express, Peter Hill, do to ensure it could not happen again? He famously told MPs: “I have reprimanded myself.” ”
The PCC need to clear up journalism. Whilst, new media is not making the situation any easier, surely there can be some consensus about what ‘real’ journalism should consist of; hacking phones and going through bins should be left to the intelligence services, and journalists should focus on really serving the public interest. http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2011/06/code-breakers/