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Saturday 21 November 2015

Paul Weller Bests The Mail

In Flat Earth News, Nick Davies said of the Daily Mail: “the story is published; the subject of the story then complains and is confronted by the wealth and cleverness of the Mail which will fight them right up to the point of final defeat, when, if need be, it will surrender and offer some kind of deal. And then the pattern repeats, because the penalty is no match for the rewards of the behaviour which is being penalised”.
Paul Weller

There is no better example of this than the Mail’s response to complaints from former Style Council front man Paul Weller, who objected to having his children “plastered” over Mail Online. Apparently “The seven unpixelated pictures appeared in October 2012 after a paparazzo followed Weller and his children on a shopping trip in Santa Monica, California - taking photos without their consent, despite being asked to stop”.

The Mail’s publishers, Associated Newspapers, trotted out the usual line: “Associated said they were innocuous and inoffensive images taken in public places, and that the Wellers had previously chosen to open up their private family life to public gaze to a significant degree”. Slebs bring the attention on themselves and are therefore fair game.

But Mr Justice Dingemans “ruled that there was a misuse of private information and a breach of the Data Protection Act which merited an award of £5,000 to Dylan and £2,500 each to the boys … He said that the photos were published in circumstances where the children had a reasonable expectation of privacy – and the balance came down in favour of finding that the right to respect for private and family life overrode that to freedom of expression”. That was last year. So the Mail just appealed.

The paper claimed that Weller was trying to establish an “image right”, which “would have far-reaching adverse effects on the freedom of the media in this jurisdiction”. What did Weller’s side have to say to that? “David Sherborne, for the Wellers, said that the appeal raised no new points of law and the judge’s decision was simply the application of a set of facts to well-established legal principles”.

And so it came to pass that the Mail’s appeal was thrown out by Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, who observed “The fact that a child's parent or parents are celebrities or public figures may not, without more, be relied on to argue that the child should have a lower reasonable expectation of privacy … The child's reasonable expectation of privacy cannot be different from that of a child whose parents are not in the public arena, unless the parents have courted publicity for the child”. And there was more.

Associated was refused leave to appeal to the Supreme Court - the chance to fight all the way before admitting defeat - and was ordered to pay Weller’s costs. Mail Online could have admitted it got it wrong, said sorry and taken the photos down, but that is not the Mail way. And Weller bested them because he could afford to risk it.

The Mail’s idea of press freedom: screw the little people, and as many of the rest as they can out-appeal in court. Remember that next time you hear their hacks playing the victim.


Anonymous said...

There is only one way this cultural filth can be cleaned from our lives and it is this:

If the complainant succeeds in court, gobshites like the Daily Heil should be forced to not only cough up substantial damages but print an apology that takes up an entire front page. A couple of those would soon see lowlives like Dacre and Kavanagh choke on their own poison. Freedom of expression has absolutely nothing to do with it - the Daily Heil wouldn't know what to do with it if it tripped over it - but neocon corruption has.

Think on this too: the cowards who run this sickening garbage are actually in proximity to children.

Ceebs said...

and hear we sea the reason why cheap arbitration and papers having to pay legal costs as recommended by Leveson were poison to the Mail. Without those rules papers can appeal and would wish to appeal over and over, bullying their opponents with endless legal costs so that it becomes impossible for the individual to fight the full financial weight of a large company unless they are very well heeled themselves.

Arnold said...

Why not punitive damages?
"Damages awarded in excess of the claimant’s loss. They are intended to punish the defendant rather than compensate the claimant and are only available in precise and limited circumstances such as where the defendant is guilty of oppressive or unconstitutional action or has calculated that the money to be made from his wrongdoing will probably exceed the damages payable".

pete c said...

No.The only way this 'cultural filth' will be cleansed from our lives is quite different.

The population at large wakes up. Says we/I no longer want this crap in our lives. Leaves it on the newsagents shelf. Job done. One day.

Anonymous said...

Funny how money just automatically goes to rich people. If you're rich you can have 5 grand or 2.5 grand land at your feet for doing bugger all.

Tim Fenton said...


Poor people can't afford to resort to law in order obtain redress.

Anonymous said...

To pete c:

Yes, I agree that would be the best way. I should have said, "In the current circumstances."

But the way British society had been manipulated and propagandised means there is minimum likelihood of a boycott in the near. For instance it took the utter horror of the Hillsborough Disaster and cover-up to destroy the Sun circulation on Merseyside. Yet people still buy the disgusting rag elsewhere. And went on buying it and the Daily Heil despite revelations in the Leveson Inquiry.

I don't know what the demographics are of newspapers circulation. But I'm willing to bet the worst poisoners sell more in the bribed south east, and not just because of population concentration.

But as you say, one day......the penny will drop and those who are gullible enough to fall for Murdoch/Northcliff muck will find they are as dispensable as anyone else.

It won't go on forever, it only seems like it. Meantime, we have to deal with the world as it is before it can be changed and improved. We've been here before.

DBC said...

It would be nice if some pap followed and photographed the relatives of Dacre or Rothermere and published those pictures. I wonder what they would say about that?