Our most cherished liberty is up for grabs at the Leveson inquiry, but it cannot be entrusted to a new tribunal to muzzle newspapers
The other night I saw Dinner with Portillo -a show whose conceit of filming members of the chattering classes eating lukewarm food and regurgitating received opinions I can assert with confidence would never occur to any commissioning editor from any other country on the planet.
The leading libel judge Sir David Eady has said that personal attacks on him by the Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre are unconstructive and do nothing to further the debate on privacy.
The Economist‘s Bagehot has a queasy feeling in his stomach after reading the coverage of Baby P, and I can’t say I blame him
Perhaps I’m especially squeamish about it, because I’ve got a child of roughly the same age as the victim, but I find today’s renewed and blanket coverage of the Baby Peter case-in which a toddler was tortured to death in appalling circumstances in 2007-sickening and largely pointless. Much of the coverage is gruesomely exploitative and some of it near-pornographic. All the stuff about how the criminals may, eventually, be given fresh identities at the taxpayer’s expense, to protect them from vigilantes when they get out of prison, is just emptily speculative rabble-rousing.
Bryan Appleyard of the Sunday Times made much the same point in December when he reminded me of an old newspaper term I had not heard in years.