By Ray Fleming

DEFENDERS of the freedom of the press won one and lost one. The attempt of Max Mosley, the former Formula One chief, to get the European Court of Human Rights to support his view that newspapers should give warnings in advance to people whose private lives they intend to write about was firmly rejected.

The Court said such a procedure would have a “chilling effect” on the media and would probably not be workable. However, in Britain the Press Complaints Commission, a self-regulating body financed by newspapers, upheld a complaint by the president of the LibDem party against the Daily Telegraph for sending reporters to record secretly interviews with LibDem coalition ministers in their offices. VInce Cable was one of these ministers and he was recorded saying that he had “declared war on Rupert Murdoch”. The newspaper argued that the views of these ministers were “of public interest” and should be known. The Commission,, thought otherwise, while acknowledging that there was “a fine balance to be struck”. It said that the public interest was not such as to justify the degree of subterfuge used by the Daily Telegraph reporters which breached the Commission's rules for this kind of reporting. The Editor of the newspaper said the decision had “alarming implications for the future of investigative journalism.” There is much more to be said about both cases.