Letter: Nobody's sex life is a matter of public interest

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I THINK it was Milan Kundera who said the most fundamental freedom a totalitarian society denies its citizens is private space.According to Anne McElvoy (Section 2, 17 May) this is a freedomwe can do without because it impedes the unfettered pursuit of what she calls the public interest.

Neither of the examples she gives to illustrate the inferiority of continental privacy laws are convincing. I don't believe the press in France or Germany has a less enviable record in uncovering criminal activity at the top than their counterparts here.

There may very well have been a connection between President Mitterrand's love life and state appointments, but what does that prove? Are UK public appointments never made on the basis of friendship, whether carnal or platonic? The case of Willy Brandt proves only the destructive nature of British tabloid journalism. Had he been a British prime minister we would prematurely have lost the services of a statesman who was instrumental in beginning the process which ended the Cold War.

The public interest argument is a red herring. The tabloid press has never limited its search for victims to politicians or well-known individuals. Hasn't Ms McElvoy noticed the telephone numbers inviting readers to snitch on the sexual proclivities of their next-door neighbours?

The truth is that sexuality is part of the human condition. Many ultimately decent people find monogamy hard, have affairs from time to time, but manage to maintain happy partner- ships. By the same token sexual virtue does not necessarily make one a good spouse.Who the hell are the Sun or the News of the World to make judgements on the private dynamics of other people's lives?

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