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Complainant Name:
Naomi Russell

Clauses Noted: 3

Publication: Sunday Sport


Granada Media plc complained to the Press Complaints Commission on behalf of Miss Naomi Russell that an article headlined "Naomi's head went bob-bob-bobbie on my nobbie!" published in the Sunday Sport on 11 November 2001 intruded into her private life in breach of Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Code of Practice.

The complaint was upheld.

The article concerned a previous relationship between the Coronation Street actress Naomi Russell and a man called Paul Deighton.

Granada Media said that the article, which included highly intimate details about the couple's sex life, showed no respect for Miss Russell's private life and that there was no public interest in publishing the story. They added that while she had undertaken some publicity work - in common with all actors in such programmes - she had never discussed such matters in private and in fact never discussed her relationships in public.

The newspaper said that Miss Russell had previously sought to increase her profile through interviews with the media and had spoken in some depth about her private life and personal thoughts on a wide range of subjects. The newspaper said that this was a sensible way for such people to further their careers and therefore maintain and possibly increase their earning potential. It was therefore unreasonable to deny Mr Deighton the right to income earned by discussing his own private life with the media.



The Commission noted that the newspaper's justification rested on two contentions: that Mr Deighton had a right to tell his story and that Miss Russell had openly discussed her private life in the media in some depth. It had not denied that the story was intrusive or suggested that Miss Russell had in some way consented to publication, nor had it suggested that publication was in the public interest. In cases such as this the Commission is mindful of its duty to balance the rights to freedom of expression of one party with the rights to respect for privacy of another. It also has to consider whether the details published in the story are proportional to those already in the public domain and whether the complainant has ever discussed similar matters or profited from revealing private details.

In this case there was no evidence that Miss Russell had ever discussed such intimate matters and the material that the newspaper published about her private life was completely disproportionate to that already in the public domain. The story was salacious and intrusive and there was no public interest in publishing it in such detail.

Regarding Mr Deighton's right to tell his side of the story, the Commission agreed that he had a right to freedom of expression. However, he could have discussed his relationship with the complainant without revealing such personal details, the publication of which had intruded into the complainant's private life. The Commission had no hesitation in upholding the complaint.


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