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When Legal And Privacy Trumps The News, We Are All In Trouble

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When legal and privacy trumps the news, we are all in trouble

The BBC is under fire for its failure to report on the Michelle Mone case.

So far, it has only offered a “no comment” to the suggestion it has a news blackout on the Conservative peer’s house being raided by police.

Even before she was a politician, Mone was a subject of interest to the tabloids since she founded lingerie company Ultimo. She has enjoyed years of flattering coverage.

The new allegations relate to more than £200 million of government contracts handed to a firm linked to Mone.

These allegations have been very widely reported, in the Daily MailThe Mirror and The Guardian, for a start, including the fact that her home was raided.

What’s the BBC playing at?

Well, my guess is that the ghost of the Cliff Richard case hangs heavy. In 2019, the Beeb ended paying £2 million to Sir Cliff for covering a police raid on his home.

The police were investigating allegations made by a man against the singer, but he was never arrested or charged.

Which made the BBC’s coverage a clear invasion of privacy. They totally screwed it up, quite recklessly it seems to me, and deserved what they got.

But the Mone case is different. The prosecuting authority is actively confirming the story. It is not a police tip-off, it is a clear public interest case.

Yet the Beeb is still cowed. I gather the papers took legal advice for days and days before they went for it too.

That in itself is probably the BBC’s fault. It got it horribly wrong with Sir Cliff, and a precedent was set, at least in the minds of the corporation’s lawyers.

They not only lost a case, they made everyone else nervous.

This is not a small thing. Let’s have fair reporting, honest PR-ing and a respect for privacy.

But if the BBC can’t do the news, we are all in trouble.

Press release of the day

Is the Great Resignation now off as economic conditions get harder?

Not according to this from UiPath, a software company.

It says almost half of offices workers are willing to resign, citing burnout from the labour shortage.

The release says: “Office workers are feeling increased pressure at work because their colleagues are quitting. Alarmingly, 83% of UK respondents have had to take on up to six new tasks outside of their job descriptions due to their co-workers resigning—and 58% reported that they do not know what their responsibilities are anymore.”

professionals, and what the public thinks would be a fair and proportionate level perhaps reflects the concerning extent to which the lives of those at the top and those of everybody else have become so far removed from each other. That’s probably not a healthy development.”

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Is BAE going to cash in from increased defence spending post Ukraine? How do we fell about this?

2) Did Next shoppers cut back in the first quarter?

3) Will the Bank of England upset or reassure the markets with its 12pm rate decision?

4) How many people in the City think Governor Andrew Bailey should go? 

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