Friday, 3 June 2011

In Defence of Privicy

After much twitter-based fervour and an outspoken MP  the super-injunction covering Ryan Gigg's extra-marital affair with Imogen Thomas has been completely compromised.

While in effect, the super-injunction didn't stop Ryan Gigg's wife, Stacey Cooke, knowing about the affair and it didn't spare Ryan the consequences other men would suffer if they were in his position. All it was meant to achieve was some temporary privacy for Ryan, his family and Imogen to sort out their issues before it could be reported by media outlets.

However, events have taken this 'privilege' away from those involved and now they face the demeaning prospect of sorting out their private lives in public. Not a second of Ryan Gigg's (alleged) affair is of public interest, as knowing such information does not help anyone make a better decision and does not improve the lives of anyone.

Make this comparison: If a normal man, say a guy who works at your local Tescos or Asda, cheats on his wife is this information important to you? I doubt its even interesting to most people; however, when its someone famous it becomes more interesting, but still the information is of no use past the initial entertainment value. Knowing it doesn't help you prepare for anything and it doesn't reveal shady activity from people in a position of trust. If you think entertainment value alone makes the private lives of anyone fair game for the relativity limitless resources of the media industry then you subscribe to a kind of social sadism similar to that of a psychotic.

Yes, it is important for journalists to investigate incidences in some people's private lives as they may be in a position of power and those decisions may prove them to be people of unfit character for such a responsibility, but extra marital affairs never come into this, especially when its a footballer and especially as that information would only be temporarily embargoed. However, when someone unearths the extra-marital affair of a footballer and uses it as a victory against liars and cheats who hope to swindle the public you're only weakening the power for privacy laws to be used properly, which will end up hurting the public when information that should be obtainable will be kept secret.