Page last updated at 17:48 GMT, Monday, 5 December 2011

Joint committee on privacy and injunctions

On 5 December 2011, the joint committee on privacy and injunctions took evidence from Max Mosley, Steve Coogan, Zac Goldsmith MP, and Hugh Grant.

Mr Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park, rejected a suggestion from the committee that there was a commercial imperative for newspapers to print stories about the private lives of famous people.

"If the only way a business can stay afloat is by engaging in immoral or unethical behaviour, then that business should either change its model or go out of business," he said.

"No one said that Auschwitz should have been kept open because it created jobs."

Actor Hugh Grant, who was also appearing before the committee, described how on one occasion photographers slashed every surface of his car with a knife.

The actor, who has previously given evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, said the attack was "retribution" after he responded violently to paparazzi who had been harassing him.

Comedian Steve Coogan, who has also given evidence to the inquiry, told the committee that he had spent thousands of pounds in legal fees trying to defend his privacy.

"I at one point threatened an injunction against a newspaper that was going to publish a story about a member of my family, not about me, that was no way in the public interest," he said.

Mr Mosley, the former International Automobile Federation president, won £60,000 in damages from the News of the World in 2008 after a judge ruled that it had invaded his right to privacy.

He has since campaigned for a change in the law to require the media to notify public figures before running articles about them.

Later in the session, Press Complaints Commission director Stephen Abell, Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards, Ofcom director of standards Tony Close, and Authority for Television On Demand chief executive Pete Johnson also gave evidence.

The committee is made up of members of both House of Parliament and is examining how the statutory and common law on privacy and the use of anonymity injunctions and super-injunctions has operated in practice.

MPs and peers will try to establish how best to strike the balance between privacy and freedom of expression.

They will seek to make recommendations on the future of media regulation in this context, including the role of the Press Complaints Commission and the Office of Communications (OFCOM).

The committee is expected to report by 29 February 2012.


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