Scandals 'have turned tide on press curbs'

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Indy Politics
THE WAVE of sex scandals to hit the Tory party may have turned the tide against new restrictions on the press over alleged invasions of privacy, Michael Grade, chief executive of Channel 4 Television told an awards ceremony last night, writes Colin Brown.

Warning Peter Brooke, the Secretary of State for National Heritage, against new press curbs in his review of privacy, Mr Grade said the court action by the Princess of Wales over spy photographs of her exercising in a gym showed existing laws were adequate.

'The only consolation - and it may be a sign that the tide is now turning - is that in the events of the last fortnight the attempts by some politicians to blame the government's predicament on the activities of the press have failed to convince.'

Mr Grade also rejected the allegations in a speech by Michael Portillo, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, that broadcasters were systematically undermining the structures of society. 'If the public questions the forces of law and order, isn't that more likely to be the result of the many miscarriages of justice exposed by television and newspapers?'

He also made a call for the lifting of the broadcasting ban on Sinn Fein at the award ceremony for the Freedom of Information Campaign.

He attacked the Broadcasting Standards Council, which, he said, only existed to repress freedom of expression.