The testimony before the commission investigating the British media.  This week it was Joanne K. Rowling, author of the beloved Potter series.  Rowling testified she once found a note from a journalist in her five-year-old daughter’s mailbag.  Another time she was obliged to hide her small children under blankets in a car to make sure they were not photographed.

In addition Rowling described the photographing of her eight-year-old daughter in a bikini at a private resort using a telephoto lens, and the continual stalking of herself and her children. When she was dating the man she later married, someone  phoned him, posing as a tax-office employee, asked for his address and annual income.  Next day both items appeared in the press.

Actress Sienna Miller told the same inquiry she has been chased down a street at midnight by 10 men who had the right to do so because they were carrying cameras.

Rowling has gone to court many times to try to restrain the media.

Other than legal action which can be very expensive, is there any other way to control the media.?  Today’s Globe and Mail says that any law that could undermine the freedoms that enabled Ms. Rowling to be an artist and gave Harry Potter life would be counterproductive.  Do you agree?

Is the media out of control?

What do  you think?


  1. 1

    “Today’s Globe andMail says that any law that could undermine the freedoms that enabled Ms. Rowling to be an artist and gave Harry Potter life would be counterproductive. Do you agree?”

    I don’t know what that means.

    But I do know this: there is no such thing as, “The public has a right to know!” Private is private, and the yellow press needs a leash and a muzzle!

  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Lady Janus , I agree. But I think we should make a distin ction between celebrities and non-celebrities. Many of the former are famous for being famous and depend on the media to keep them above the radar. The latter deserve to have their privacy protected, by law if necessary.

  3. 3
    Barbara Says:

    Neil, where do you draw the line between celebrities or non-celebrities? Is Ms Rowling a celebrity? Are Sienna Miller et al. celebrities because of their choice of career?

    There seem to be a number of people, I agree, who are famous for merely being famous. Do we really need them? If they do something worth noting, then give them the attention, but otherwise, I would be pleased if they were left to stew in their own egos.

  4. 4

    “But I think we should make a distin ction between celebrities and non-celebrities.”

    I don’t. That “distinction” of yours is what got Diana killed, remember?

  5. 5
    Jim Says:

    I would like to have my person copyrighted, then if anyone wishes to use my copyright, by way of photograhing it, they may do so for a $2,000,000 fee. If they used the good side of my face, the fee would be only $1,000,000. Would the press challenge my freedom to earn a living, in copyrighting my kisser?

  6. 6

    The problem is not so much the media, but the people who read this stuff , which is on display at the check-outs of most supermarkets . You`ll notice that The New York Times, Washington Post et al are not sold in that spot.

    The readers are related to fans of Mixed Martial arts,and before that, pro wrestling. I once saw a wrestler say about his own fans ` There are two problems with the fans ; `they can vote and they can breed.`

    So, Barbara , I agree with you

  7. 7

    Everyone deserves privacy.
    The media is out of control of course it’s the tabloids who offer the Papparazzi huge amounts of money to get “the money shot”. That’s what needs to be stopped!

  8. The yellow press is out for a pound of flesh and should be put on leash. I doubt the Globe and mail or any serious newspaper would have paid for a paparazzi picture of an 8 year old girl in bikini unless they pander to paedophiles, but then the British tabloids will stop at nothing…and they make big money.

  9. 9
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Yes, Barbara, Miller and Rowling are celebrities. I was once a bit of a celebrity myself in the English community of Montreal.

  10. 10
    Barbara Says:

    The Canadian press is pretty restrained. I was always impressed when I saw Pierre Trudeau walking around downtown unencumbered by bodyguards and paparazzi. You can be a celebrity in Montreal and people respect your privacy — at least I imagine that to be the case. Were you pestered by the press, Neil? Did you enjoy it, if you were?

    I think everyone deserves their privacy — even if they don’t want it! 😉

  11. 11
    Neil McKenty Says:

    We had an un l isted telephone number. Catharine was sometimes concerned because of the controversial stands I took e.g. supporting the Newfoundland seal hunt. People once held up placards saying “Skin McKenty.” I rather enjoyed it.

  12. 12
    Barbara Says:

    That’s not quite the same thing as people interferring with your private life. You never had anyone rummaging through your garbage or badgering your family/friends to uncover unpleasant secrets or hassling you wherever you went or photographing you when look less than your best and then publishing it for all to see? It can wear a little thin after a while, I suppose.

  13. 13
    Heidi Gulatee Says:

    you are still a celebrity but in my eyes so is Catherine, your wife.I really enjoy your blog and from time to time I want to thank you for it. I get to read comments from all your bloggers and I learn many new things. Consider yourself to be thanked.

  14. 14

    Pierre Trudeau had a favourite restaurant (mine too) in Montreal- Orchidee de Chine on Peel St. where I often saw him. He was always personable, and for some reason, people respected his space-I did notice a body guard (in a trench coat, of course) seated at another table near the door of the restaurant giving everyone the once over.

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