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Define “In the Public Interest” versus “Of interest to the Public”

Comment 8th July 2010

It has been misused by the Press for decades – "in the public interest" has been deliberately used when "of interest to the public" (gossip) is for more accurate. Newspaper editors misuse this inappropriate and misleading blurring to justify press intrusion, and have so far evaded Privacy Laws by agreeing to (but breaking) their own so-called Codes of Conduct.

Reporting dangerous prisoners on the run, outbreaks of new diseases, notifying people about the recall of faulty products – that's in the public interest. Publishing topless photos of some holidaying Soap Opera star isn't, and neither is what goes on in people's private lives, unless they break the law. Lives and careers are ruined by voracious and uncaring reporters whose much-vaunted morals run as deep as a cigarette paper's thickness.

Give us a legal definition of  In The Public Interest and we will finally have legal recourse against Press Intrusion.

Why does this matter?

Press intrusion is rightly blamed for making the UK's Press the World's Gutter Press. All attempts at self-regulation have failed, so it's time to clean-up Fleet Street once and for all, by separating news from gossip.

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