Roy Greenslade makes a great point this week-
I can't quite grasp the defence advanced by the Scarborough Evening News after a woman complained about intrusion into her privacy. The paper told the Press Complaints Commission that it had a right to screen footage of police raiding her home because the force had invited reporters along.
I have to say that's the thinnest public interest justification I have heard in a long time. Does that not suggest that one function of the press is to act as PRs for the police? And where does that place us in relation to our supposed neutrality?
Yes, the police did find a quantity of cannabis in the house, but it did not lead to anyone being charged. As the PCC said in its measured adjudication, which upheld the woman's complaint, putting up the video footage on the paper's website "involved a degree of intrusion that was out of proportion to any such public interest."
But we haven't quite finished yet. There was more disingenuous nonsense from the Evening News's editor: "The complainant's address was identified so that there would be no confusion with other houses on the street." Excuse me. If no footage had been screened at all then there would not have been any possible confusion.
It's clear what happened here. The paper accompanied the police on one raid. It didn't turn out to be a major drugs bust, but it made for exciting footage. There was no genuine public interest in identifying the woman's home and showing a picture of her son's bedroom. It was intrusion without the least journalistic merit.