Editors cautious on 'privacy list'
Celebrity magazine editors have given a cautious welcome to a proposal for an official register of famous people who want to remain private.
Heat magazine's Lucie Cave told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards it would be a "very useful tool" if celebrities kept a body like the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) updated on their circumstances.
But OK! editor Lisa Byrne warned that such a register could place limits on the reporting of stories about well-known people. She said: "Every celebrity might say, 'no, I don't want any pictures of my family ever again'. Then it could cause a problem."
Inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson questioned Ms Cave, Ms Byrne and Hello! co-editor Rosie Nixon about the idea of a list of which celebrities did not want to be featured in the media.
"Would it be of value if there was a register so people likely to be of interest to your magazines or indeed the wider press could say, 'I'm very sorry, I want to be private'?" he asked.
"Would you be assisted by some mechanism that clarified all that?" Ms Nixon replied: "Yes, I think we would."
Ms Cave added: "It depends on the circumstances of the celebrity at the time. It might be there's a moment in their life where they particularly don't want a photograph taken of them for whatever reason. But then at other times they might be happy to have a photograph taken... It would be a very useful tool for us if they used a body like the PCC to update them on their circumstances."
The hearing was told there is a "bounty" on the head of celebrities' newborn babies because paparazzi can make a lot of money if they get the first picture of the child.
Singer Charlotte Church told the inquiry in November that she signed an exclusive deal for a magazine article when her first baby was born to "take away the value" of paparazzi pictures. She said: "My decision was based upon the fact that photographs of my children would have been taken anyway, with or without my consent, and this was the lesser of two evils."
Ms Nixon said: "The sad truth is that there is almost a bounty on the head of that child for the first photos. They can make a paparazzo a lot of money."