European Court set to give public figures chance to gag press on damaging stories


Kevin Rawlinson
The Independent
March 2, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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It could spell the end of the kiss and tell: public figures might, within 18 months, have the power to stifle bad news stories before they are published, a senior lawyer has warned.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is currently fast-tracking a landmark case, brought by Max Mosley, to tighten UK privacy laws. Mark Stephens, a lawyer acting for a group of media and free speech organisations opposing Mr Mosley in court, believes that the extraordinary pace with which it is proceeding suggests that the judges are about to rule in the former Formula One boss’s favour.

That would mean a change in the law that would force the press to contact anyone that they are intending to run a story about to warn them if it could potentially breach their privacy, giving public figures a chance to gag newspapers before publication.

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