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Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
Tabloid rapped for filming TV party
Emmerdale stars Clive Hornby and Elizabeth Estensen (Jack Sugden and Diane Blackstock)
Stars: Commission said they are entitled to privacy
The News of the World newspaper has been censured for secretly filming television soap Emmerdale's Christmas party.

Two journalists took hidden cameras into the party on a "fishing expedition" - meaning they were hoping to catch a good story on camera.

But the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) ruled that the investigation was not in the public interest after a complaint by Granada TV, who make Emmerdale.

There was no evidence that the newspaper might have been able to expose any crime or serious misdemeanour

Press Complaints Commission ruling
The journalists were thrown out when party-goers realised who they were, and no story was published.

The newspaper defended themselves by saying there had been "wild behaviour" at previous parties and the exposure of any wrong-doing would be in the public interest.

They also said the party, at a hotel near Leeds, was not private and that anybody could have walked in.

But the commission ruled that if it was open to the public, the journalists should not have been carrying hidden cameras.

"Such a breach of the [editors' code of practice] could only be excusable in the public interest and the commission was not persuaded by the newspaper's justification," the ruling said.

Emmerdale: Stars celebrated at party
"There was no evidence that the newspaper might have been able to expose any crime or serious misdemeanour by secretly videoing party-goers.

"The commission will always protect a paper's right to investigate matters of genuine public interest, but in this case the public interest defence did not justify the photographing of individuals in private places."

The PCC's code of practice says that to be in the public interest, an investigation must expose crime or wrongdoing, protect public health and safety or prevent the public from being misled.

They decided the News of the World's investigation did none of these things.

The party was held at the Rudding Park Hotel, north Yorkshire, to reward cast members for their successful transition to a five-night-a-week show.


The PCC, a self-regulatory body for the press, has been criticised in the past for not being strict enough with its members.

But this ruling is seen as significant in that it sets a precedent for what is genuinely in the public interest and what is muck-raking.

The newspaper was forced to print the full adjudication on page 10 on Sunday. The PCC does not have the power to fine a paper.

Granada TV won another victory against the News of the World last year after they published a salacious article about Coronation Street star Jacqueline Pirie's sex life without her consent.

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See also:

03 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Emmerdale goes nightly
01 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Soaps gunning for ratings
07 Feb 01 | UK
Battle to raise standards
23 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Soap actor found not guilty
01 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Foot-and-mouth hits the soaps
07 Feb 01 | UK
Royals attend press party
06 Mar 00 | UK
Privacy: A pressing problem
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