Jowell rules out privacy laws to tame the press

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The Independent Online

Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, ruled out a privacy law to protect people from the media yesterday.

She said individuals' privacy was already adequately protected by the Human Rights Act and other legislation. Any new law would be "undesirable" because it might upset the balance between freedom of expression and the right to privacy.

Ms Jowell's comments were included in her department's official response to a report by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee four months ago, which called for a privacy law. But she offered broad support for many of the committee's other recommendations, such as the call for reporters to show restraint at the doorsteps of people in the news. She also supported having more lay members on the Press Complaints Commission.

Guy Black, director of the commission, said Ms Jowell's response was "good news" for its self-regulation system.