23 March 2011

Press Harassment

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Protection from Fear of ViolenceStatutory TortCriminal OffenceInterpretation of HarassmentPHA 1997Prohibition of HarassmentProhibition of Harassment - Defences

We've all seen people become victims of the press. Often they're implicated, tangentially, in some sort of crime. This seems to give the press a bogus right to harass the person.

I wonder why people who find themselves in this sort of situation don't rely on the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

A journalist makes an approach to the person; the person asks the journalist for their details, the person checks the previous reports of the journalist and finds them lacking, then tells the journalist that they don't want them to contact them again. If the journalist doesn't respect the person's wishes, the journalist becomes liable in the statutory tort of harassment, as does the journalist's employer (see, Majrowski "What matters is the closeness of the connection between the offending conduct of the employee with the nature and circumstances of that employment.").

Consider the resignation letter of the journalist Richard Peppiat from the Daily Star. The letter describes very bad practice by that newspaper. Now, imagine being contacted by this journalist - pre the letter - looking at his articles, finding them lacking and telling the journalist that you don't want to be contacted by him again. What can he do?

I wonder how often this mechanism is being used to prevent press harassment.

Update 24th March 2011. Using the novel techniques of 'reading' and using something called 'google'; I've managed to find the following story, The harassment of press freedom.

The story, from 2007, gives details of people using PHA 1997 to stop the press harassing them. The article also points out that the press has some redress via article 10 of the convention of human rights. The real problem is that the law is like the Ritz, open to everyone.


  1. Operation Mockingbird.

    - Aangirfan

  2. A particularly despicable example of the State putting lies in newspapers was described on the blog, 'the wit of the stair case'.

    If you follow the link, you can find out why the actress, Jean Seberg, buried her still born foetus in a glass coffin. Very upsetting to ponder.