In 2011, a newspaper in the UK was shut down after it was found to have hacked the phones of celebrities, the families of British service personnel killed in action, and intercepted the voicemail of Milly Dowler, a British teenager who went missing and was later found to be murdered.
And ever since then, there has been calls and even proposed legislation that would bring the press closer to being under state regulation.
I can’t really understand the pain of having a loved one go missing and then later be found murdered, but infringing on press freedoms is infringing on free speech. I hate most of what the Daily Mail prints, but I can accept that the paper has an audience who do agree with and like what they print.
There is no doubt that The News of the World went too far in its investigative journalism. Harassing someone, regardless of how well known they are is illegal. Hacking someone’s phone is illegal. Hacking and erasing a missing girl’s voicemails is most certainly illegal, but putting more restrictions on what the press can and cannot do will not make those actions more illegal. If a newspaper and/or journalist does something illegal, prosecute them, that’s why we have a justice system that has fair trial by jury! To punish those who have broken the law.
Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are immovable, untouchable human rights. Everyone has the right to express their opinion, no matter what that opinion may be. Silencing an illiberal is illiberal.