Demise of 'kiss and tell' stories due to the Leveson Inquiry, says Roy Greenslade


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The Independent Online

Tabloid newspapers have stopped writing “kiss and tell” stories in the wake of the setting up of the Leveson Inquiry, a former editor has suggested.

Roy Greenslade, an academic and ex-editor of the Daily Mirror, said "kiss and tell" stories had "virtually disappeared" since the inquiry was set up.

He suggested that the disappearance of such stories was one "positive effect" the inquiry was having.

Professor Greenslade told inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson: "Since July last year, kiss and tell stories have virtually disappeared."

In a written statement to the inquiry, Professor Greenslade referred to stories about "a married footballer" who "committed adultery".

He said some newspapers would argue that denying journalists the right to obtain "material interesting to the public" was a "denial of press freedom".

"I accept that all newspapers wish to inform society about itself; all seek to hold power to account; and all also want to entertain," said Professor Greenslade in the statement.

"But there are wide differences in the way that papers balance those three functions.

"Papers that prefer to entertain rather than inform, for example, will argue that they have a right to publish a preponderance of material interesting to the public and that it is a denial of press freedom to deny them from obtaining it.

"If it means intruding into the privacy of a married footballer in order to show that he has committed adultery, then so be it.

"The paper is therefore 'preventing the public from being misled'."