I have just read about Heather Mills and the huge payout she has been awarded as a consequence of national newspapers invading her privacy. For decades and decades, for as long as I can remember in fact, newspaper reporters have thought they have the right to use any means possible, lawful or otherwise, to create a juicy, controversial story about anyone who is well known or famous. It does not matter at all if the story they end up creating is accurate or not, it just has to be sensational enough to sell newspapers.
If it offends the person(s) involved, which it usually will, to the highly unlikely but very occasional and unfortunate consequence of them committing suicide or something similar, well that’s just tough.
In the case of Heather Mills and her sister Fiona, the press were turning up at private family functions for example, that nobody but family members knew about. Consequently the sisters thought maybe some of their close family were leaking information to the press, when in reality, the rouge reporters were having their phones tapped. It was stressful for a lot of members of the wider Mills family when it should not have been.
The case has taken a decade for The High Court to get this decision and many would have given up by now but it is great that Heather stuck to her guns and newspaper group NGN now have to stump up a record payout in compensation.
It seems to me that the newspaper industry in the UK think they are a law unto themselves and should not be accountable to anyone. They very often do a great job but need to tow-the-line within the law, just like the rest of us.
I am not really a fan of Heather Mills, although she insists she does a lot of charity work and gives around 80% of her income to deserving good causes. However, I admire her stance on this occasion.
Ultimately though, my real concern is that it is the UK public’s insatiable appetite for scandal that motivates newspapers and their reporters to put bad news and scandal on their front pages and if it is a ‘no-news day’ then to just create some false news and to heck with the consequences.
Am I alone in thinking this??