Lord Justice Leveson’s proposal for a celebrity privacy register that would allow famous individuals to opt out of the media limelight has divided magazine editors, writes Sebastian Huempfer.
Lord Justice Leveson, who is leading an inquiry into media ethics following the 2011 phone-hacking scandal in Britain, has raised the idea of a celebrity privacy register. This register would allow people who are under media scrutiny to register their wish to remain private. It would be backed by the threat of sanctions against media outlets violating the privacy of those who have registered.
The proposal met with support from some celebrity magazine editors present at the hearing. However, the idea was not received favourably by all. The editor of celebrity magazine OK!, Lisa Byrne, told the inquiry that the system would not work if all celebrities participated in it. The editor of Heat magazine, Lucie Cave, pointed out that such a register would help celebrities present themselves in way at odds with their private conduct, and that it was indeed in the public interest that such double standards are exposed. Speaking on the BBC, the chief executive officer of PR company Outside argued that the register would be “unworkable and impractical” and could harm magazines.