Mark Oaten says that despite his humiliation, the press was in the right
Of all the people who one might expect to line up in defence of the media, Mark Oaten's name would not naturally top any list.
The former candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats had his affair with a male prostitute splashed across the pages of the News of the World in 2006, just days after he pulled out of the race to lead his party.
Yet Mr Oaten, a married father of two daughters, tells the BBC's Panorama that ultimately his own story is one of press freedom.
"I concluded that however awful it may be, it's better to have a press which can expose MPs' private lives because it means we have a free press it means we can expose corruption."
Mr Oaten's comments come amid a growing debate over the relative rights of press freedom versus privacy of the individual.
The recent court victory for Formula One boss Max Mosley against the News of the World's story about his sado-masochistic orgy with five prostitutes has fuelled that debate.
Instead of shying away from the limelight of the embarrassing revelations, he fought back, establishing in court that there was no Nazi element and claiming that his right to privacy had been invaded with no over-reaching public purpose in the publication of those details of his sex life.
It is an issue that fundamentally goes to the heart of who we are as a society and where we want to be - the public's right to know
Colin Myler, editor, News of the World
Mr Mosley told Panorama that without a legitimate public interest element, not only should newspapers pay damages to him, but he is pushing for criminal offences to be enacted that could see jail terms for newspaper editors on top of hefty fines.
With a patchwork body of legal cases that some see as dangerous precedents that could infringe upon press freedom, others feel that the scale has already tipped too far in favour of privacy.
Ian Hislop, editor of the satirical Private Eye magazine, is, as expected, a firm defender of the media's right to publish.
Mr Hislop said the trend of high profile celebrities to use privacy laws to punish the media or seek injunctions against publication of damaging details about their private lives is a dangerous threat.
'Easier than libel'
"If you are rich and powerful, I mean privacy is the new libel, and much easier," Mr Hislop said. "You don't have to prove it isn't true, you just have to prove that it's private by your definition. And in some of the cases the definition of privacy is pretty weak."
Mosley:No protection to privacy
British television legend Barbara Windsor warns fellow celebrities that media attention is part of the job and said she is still flattered by the ongoing attentions of the press
"It's all right, they're trying to earn a crust - that's what I think and I'm very flattered.
"What a lot of people in my business expect is that they can switch it on and off. Well, you can't do that, no."
Beyond the celebrity and political circuit are the real-life applications of privacy laws.
In Wolverhampton, a local newspaper was effectively banned from reporting the details of a neighbourhood protest against a firm buying up homes in the area to house high-risk, possibly violent young people.
The private company that runs the youth homes obtained a court injunction banning the local paper from using photographs of the house or even naming the streets where they were located.
A court rejected the paper's accusation that the orgy was 'Nazi' themed
The injunction was granted even though there was never any suggestion that the local paper would identify any of the young people involved.
Colin Myler, editor of the News of the World, which lost its case with Mr Mosley, said unreasonable limits placed on the tabloid press in the name of privacy will filter down to every aspect of society.
"We're talking here about a situation that touches every part of our life. The book that you read publishers, broadsheets, the BBC, broadcasting, radio.
"It is an issue that fundamentally goes to the heart of who we are as a society and where we want to be - the public's right to know."
Panorama: The Death of Kiss and Tell, Monday, 15 June, BBC One at 2030BST.
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