Local News Limited Chief John Hartigan wrote — and not for the first time — at the weekend to further his campaign to talk down the prospect of new Australian privacy legislation. No need for it, he argues:

The current media privacy framework is effective and working well. The media is subject to codes of practice regulating the handling of privacy issues, and to various federal and state laws protecting privacy, including surveillance and defamation laws.

Despite what the ill-informed might say, the media cannot lie or “say what it likes” about people; nor does it want to.

There are very few complaints, investigations and breach findings against the media for breaches of privacy. But sometimes public figures, because of their power and their position, should be open to scrutiny by the public and the media. People such as Christopher Skase, Alan Bond, Rene Rivkin and others should be exposed when they do the wrong thing, especially when it is with investors’ or taxpayers’ money.

There are other instances where intrusion is also warranted, like when your main corporate competitor has the temerity to take out a bank loan for example, an instance of sufficient severity to warrant a photographer staking out the front gate and Google Earth images of the residences presumably used as collateral. So reassuring to see today’s edition of The Australian acting so strongly in pursuit of the public interest. The “ill-informed” meanwhile, are still prattling on about the privacy issues that might be involved in five of Mr Hartigan’s newspapers publishing nude photgraphs of someone who looks a bit like Pauline Hanson, “Hanson’s Nude Photo Betrayal” as the Daily Telegraph put it. Silly them. 

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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