“We have come, for good or for ill (and it is not for me to say which), a very long way in a short space of time.”
Mr Justice Eady defends the way his judgments have shaped a law of privacy (in a private speech given in February and released last week).
A sorry state
Fresh evidence of the neutering of the British media emerges in former New Statesman editor JohnKampfner’s book Freedom For Sale, review copies of which are in circulation. Kampfner, a former Today programme journalist who fell out with the BBC over his claims that the post-Hutton corporation has gone soft, interviews an unnamed former newspaper reporter now working for the Government. The poacher-turned-gamekeeper laughs in Kampfner’s face at the notion that the media has the Government at bay: “I reckon on any given day you’ll be lucky to find out 1 per cent.”
One of the sideshows at this year’s Edinburgh Festival is the debate on the future of the Scottish press as agents and artists looking for coverage of their acts tear their hair out at the lack of reviewers venturing out from their overstretched arts desks. One rumour suggests a consortium is being organised to unite beleaguered Glasgow and Edinburgh papers into a single Scottish title.
At times of economic hardship and media restraints at least Radio 2’s Chris Evans can celebrate the good things in life. In Top Gear magazine, he allows his fleet of six white Ferraris to be driven in convoy across the English countryside. “I was thinking,” says the proud owner. ‘Would that one look better in red, and that one in yellow?’ Then I just thought, ‘Bollocks, they look great all in white, like a beautiful army coming to get you.” He funded the car purchases (one alone cost him $11m) largely from the 2000 sale of Ginger Media, but sadly the fund won’t stretch to a new Ferrari 250GTO. “It’ll never happen, they’re making £16m these days. How the hell am I going to manage that?”
The online Field Sports Channel has launched with the promise of being an “antidote to BBC Countryfile”, and, presenter Charlie Jacoby tells me, to those blubbering TV chefs who can’t bear to kill their own dinner. “Hugh shot and cried, Gordon cried and didn’t shoot at all. We shoot and we don’t cry,” he promises.Reuse content