Journalist and author, Paul Barry certainly has a curious view of
privacy, or the idea of it. He’s working on an unauthorised
biography of Shane Warne and elaborated on his ambitions in this story in The Australian today.
That’s the on line version, shortened to Shane Warne and no mention of
Barry’s book on One Tel or Kerry Packer as there was in the actual
edition of The Australian.
The story claimed that James Packer “once complimented the
writing a ‘fair and balanced’ account of his father’s life”. The online
version omitted that reference but left one in to Alan Bond,
whom Barry chased in print and for Four Corners on the ABC.
But it was his comment in The Australian about Warne’s privacy that should raise eyebrows.
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“Barry was bemused by the cricketer’s alleged statement that it should
be illegal to write a book about someone without their permission.”It
would be a strange country if we had laws against that,” he said. “He’s
a public figure and sells all sorts of things to the public, so he’s
given away his rights to privacy.”
The episode is reminiscent of another snub towards the author, by Alan
Bond, who stomped on Barry’s business card when he handed it to him and
asked if he remembered who he was. As Bond ground the journalist’s card
into the ground, Barry remarked “So you do remember?”
“I thought I’d turn up at the press conference and ask him a few things at the end,” Barry said yesterday.
Barry said he had first written to Warne as a matter of courtesy when he had decided to write the unauthorised biography.
“I told him it wouldn’t be hostile … I’m writing the book because I think he’s a fantastic sportsman”.
Now, Barry should know better than to claim that a person in the
public eye has no right to privacy. Of course they do, or is Mr Barry
now a member of the Paparazzi?
Mr Barry can write anything he wants about Shane Warne, so long as it
doesn’t defame. There is nothing wrong with an unauthorized biography;
in fact they can be important in getting facts about public figures
into the broader community that enable us to better understand those
But Mr Barry has to respect Mr Warne’s privacy: Mr Barry would claim an
invasion of his privacy if someone was to start fossicking around in
After all, by his own standards, Mr Barry is a public figure through
his authorship, his time at Four Corners, Media Watch, Fairfax and the
Nine Network’s (Packer-owned) , 60 minutes and A Current Affair.