Monday, 5 March 2012

Nightjack Revisited, Pregnant Men and Privacy

Back in 2009 I wrote criticising the decision of the court to overturn the injunction preventing The Times naming the police blogger who wrote under the pseudonym of Nightjack. I stated that i thought it was little more than a trashy expose discouraging people from writing openly about the inner workings of public institutions and potential whistle blowers. He had been won an award for his writing, not broken the Contempt of Court Act and received no financial reward.

At the time I also added as an aside
"...it would be interesting to know all the methods used)."
We have a greater idea of how the journalist working for The Times at that time went about obtaining his identity, which confirmed my suspicions that Richard Horton's email account was hacked into during 2009 and that it did not reveal that fact from the High Court.

I don't know if that would have lead to a different decision but you wont be surprised to learn such methods are not approved of.

Later that year, Dr Brooke Magnanti was revealed as the widely read and bestselling "Belle Du Jour" although no allegation of illegality the privacy of her family was intruded upon in a way that the story did not need.

Between writing this entry the media got in a mild frenzy and search for (including a do you know this man, call the newsdesk appeal from a newspaper that so hates witch-hunts) the "first" (that the press know of) "pregnant man" in the UK.

Understandably he wished to remain anon and the reporting kinda shows that he made the right choice. He also maintained a blog which in lieu of any interview snippets from, formed the basis of several further articles. He managed to put up a eloquent final post which I'll ineliquently paraphrase as oh bugger and goodbye.


Although the Levenson inquiry presents a fabulous opportunity to reform or introduce, depending on you viewed the PCC, the system of regulation with enforceable sanctions when someone crosses a line. One can argue whether and to what extent celebreties are fair game, we should ensure what happened to Christopher Jefferies does not happen again.

Blogging is a way of writing about whatever you want, whether that be your experiences working as a detective, going through pregnancy, working as an escort or the rubbish ramblings of me. It does not mean its open season on your whole life. The world would be a duller place if people were to censor themselves for fear of their privacy intruded and life turned upside down and many interesting stories would be hidden.

2 comments:

  1. I would agree. It would be sad if such instances were to result people being any less honest in their blogs about their lives as much as we may keep some unique identifying information out of them.
    Regards Caroline

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  2. Y'know I don't really give a ***t - oh, that's 'hoot' BTW ;-) - who Belle or NightJack is in real life. For me, it's what they've got to say.

    So long as the entry is fairly truthful - and I mean that from an artistic license point of view - I'm easy.

    A similar thing goes for blogging. There are those who chose to blog/write about their lives from behind a mask of anonymity. If that means they feel free to write about what matters to them, who am I to say "who's behind door number six?", don't they have a right to their own privacy or if it's "in the public interest" does all of that go out of the window?

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