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Formula One chief: Britain needs privacy law

Formula One chief: Britain needs privacy law

Motor racing boss Max Mosley, who was filmed taking part in a sadomasochistic encounter, said Tuesday that Britain needs a privacy law to protect people in the public eye from the country's scandal-hungry tabloid press.
Mosley, the president of the governing body that oversees Formula One racing, won a privacy suit last year against Britain's News of the World newspaper after it alleged he took part in an orgy with a Nazi-theme. He acknowledged taking part in the session, but denied it had any kind of fascist theme.
The allegation was particularly sensitive because Mosley's father was Oswald Mosley, Britain's leading fascist politician in the 1930s and a friend of Adolf Hitler.
Mosley told a House of Commons committee that Britain needs a privacy law to keep pace with technology _ in part because the growth of the Internet means defamatory allegations are often impossible to remove from the public domain.
"I think the individual needs protection, and hence I think we need a privacy law," Mosley said.
Britain has no formal privacy law, but it is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to respect for privacy and family life. Celebrities, including Mosley, have used the clause to fight media exposes.
Mosley said he may instigate another lawsuit against the News of The World _ this time suing for libel. But he said that, whatever the damages paid out, the scandal had permanently damaged his reputation.
"If someone takes away your dignity, you will never replace it," he told lawmakers. "No matter how long I live or where in the world I am, people know about it."
In a ruling last year, High Court judge David Eady said there was no evidence of a fascist theme during an encounter between Mosley and five dominatrices in a basement apartment in London, as the newspaper had alleged.
Later Tuesday, Gerry McCann, the father of missing British girl Madeleine McCann, is scheduled to give evidence to the committee. The McCann family attracted international media attention when Madeleine disappeared in May 2007.
Several British newspapers published apologies to Madeleine's parents for suggesting the couple caused the death of their missing daughter and then covered it up.
Last year, Robert Murat, a man named by police as a suspect in the disappearance of the toddler, won an apology and 600,000 pounds in libel damages from nearly a dozen British newspapers that claimed he was involved in her abduction.


Updated : 2020-12-05 02:49 GMT+08:00