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Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Newsreader loses privacy bid
Anna Ford
The Daily Mail used photographs of Anna Ford on a beach.
BBC newsreader Anna Ford has lost a High Court challenge over holiday pictures of her in a bikini published in a newspaper and a magazine.

The Daily Mail and OK! magazine used pictures of Ms Ford in a bikini on a beach with her partner, former astronaut David Scott, taken with telephoto lenses.

The shots, including pictures of her children, appeared in the Mail on 31 August last year and in OK! on 15 September.

On Tuesday, Ms Ford lost her bid in the High Court to challenge a Press Complaints Commission decision to reject her claim that paparazzi invaded her holiday privacy.

I sympathise with Ms Ford as the publication of these photographs obviously caused her great unhappiness

Mr Justice Silber
Ms Ford, 57, claimed she had been spied on and secretly photographed on a secluded section of a public beach.

Her High Court action to seek a judicial review of the PCC decision was believed to be the first of its kind.

The PCC argued that she should not be given permission as the commission had not made "any conceivable error of law".

Mr Justice Silber said none of the criticisms made of the PCC's determination had "any merit or reached the threshold for obtaining permission".

"I sympathise with Ms Ford as the publication of these photographs obviously caused her great unhappiness but... I reject Ms Ford's application for permission to judicial review the decision of the commission."


After the ruling, Ms Ford said she was disappointed because she felt the PCC had made the wrong adjudication.

She said she had been on a tiny beach six feet wide with very few members of the public around.

"It was the press which took secretive photographs and sold them for profit who were the intrusion into our privacy," she told BBC News 24.

I'm not in favour of privacy laws

Anna Ford
"Any citizen has the right to privacy on a quiet beach anywhere in the world if they are seeking privacy.

"According to the code, using long lens photographs should not be taken without the consent of the people involved in private places or public places where there are reasonable expectations of privacy."

Ms Ford attacked the PCC for being gentle on breaches of the code and pro-press except "when members of the Royal Family or Aga Khan are involved".

Privacy laws

She said it could force people to use human rights laws to ensure privacy.

"I'm not in favour of privacy laws," she said.

"Journalists could not do their job if we had privacy laws that prevented them investigating cases of public misbehaviour."

But Ms Ford said she was not a Member of Parliament or doing anything in the public interest and should have been protected.

She said she would consider whether to appeal.

PCC chairman Lord Wakeham welcomed the court's decision.

"This is an extremely good judgment on self-regulation and the work of the commission.

"I am delighted that the court has recognised and underlined the importance of the PCC in dealing with privacy matters where conflicting rights need to be balanced."

BBC newsreader Anna Ford
"Any citizen has the right to privacy"
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