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Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission Lord Wakeham
Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission Lord Wakeham
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST EXTRACT FROM INTERVIEW WITH LORD WAKEHAM, Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission NOVEMBER 11TH, 2001

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: And on the day that the Sunday People that they're at the heart of the kiss and tell lawsuit, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission John Wakeham is here this morning. Let me ask you John to start - I'm sure you were going to - with the People. LORD WAKEHAM: Yes, well the People, and this is probably the most important story in today's papers and most probably the most important press story for some months. It's the story of a millionaire soccer star who is apparently a lying sexual predator who has cheated on his wife and two lovers, but the important thing is that a judge has ruled that the story cannot be published because it would damage his privacy. And that is an attack on press freedom which is really unprecedented in modern times and I've no doubt, at least I have every expectation, will eventually be overthrown by the Court of Appeal but - DAVID FROST: Do you think it will be overthrown? LORD WAKEHAM: Well I cannot believe it won't be, but if it isn't we have got a very serious problem. But even then we have to wait a year before the Court of Appeal is even going to hear it. So it's a pretty serious story. There's a whole range of stories that would have been banned by this gagging order if they had happened today. I mean David Mellor, himself, says the story about him, which should have been published at the time, he admits that, it would have now been against this ruling. Even something like Diana's interview, television interview, would, as I read it, not have been able to have been broadcast in those DAVID FROST: The Profumo story - LORD WAKEHAM: Absolutely. Any of these stories. So it is a very, very serious attack on the freedom of the press and I have every expectation it will eventually be overturned but it's a very serious one. DAVID FROST: Yes it is, it's a charter you said for the bullies really. LORD WAKEHAM: Absolutely. Oh absolutely. This fellow lied and cheated on two lovers, apparently, and his wife, he - and of course the other thing is this, he's known to be a football star with two children, in the Premier League of football, now every footballer with two children in the Premier League has got the suspicion on him because we don't know which one he is. DAVID FROST: Because we've got a censored picture but then we think oh, who's that under there? But then it turns out to be actor - LORD WAKEHAM: That's right. DAVID FROST: - who is doing the censored picture. LORD WAKEHAM: So it is not in the interests of the public or anybody that this sort of gagging order should be there. Free press is very important. CAROL THATCHER: But John, how did the High Court judge come to this ruling if it's so out of order? LORD WAKEHAM: Well he came to it because I think there are a number of judges who want to get this way and he's used the Human Rights Act - and I warned him at the time, warned the judges at the time that the Human Rights Act was very tricky at this area, and he used the law of confidentiality. And of course we've already seen on the news that the government itself has had to waive the Humans Rights Act in cases of terrorism, I wanted them to make sure that it wouldn't have happened with press freedom at the time they passed the bill, they tried to make it that way but I'm very worried about the effect on it. DAVID FROST: Thank you very much that's very clear.


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