‘Press freedom more important than privacy’

OK. You are the son of the President of a poor African nation. You are, not surprisingly, the head of the marketing arm of your country’s  state-owned oil company. You live it up, as most children of poor Asian and African heads of state do. You party hard, you spend lavishly.

Then, a pesky human rights group comes along and prints details of your private financial dealings on its website, contending that the national oil revenue belongs to the poor people of the poor country. So what do you do? Do you sue for libel? Or, do you sue for invasion of your privacy?

Denis Christel Sassou-Nguesso, the s/o the President of Congo, took the latter route, and sued Global Witness. Because, if you sue for libel, then you have to establish that what the NGO is saying is wrong, by opening up accounts for scrutiny. But, if you sue for privacy, truth is not a defence.

Seemed like a safe route till a court in the United Kingdom ruled yesterday that the freedom of the press (in this case Global Witness as a publisher) comes over the right to privacy of an individual (in this case the s/o of the president).

Read the full story here: UK court rules for press freedom over privacy rights

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