Marcus Evans Group | Worldwide Headquarters | American Offices | Latin America | European Offices | African / Asian Offices

Try as it might, the PCC can’t protect Sandra Bullock’s son from globalisation

The Mail’s picture editor faced privacy questions about pictures of the film star’s little boy – but globally, English law has no sway

One small exchange, one hell of a problem. Paul Silva, the Daily Mail’s picture editor, is having his collar felt by Robert Jay, the Leveson inquiry’s senior silk. Here’s a picture of Sandra Bullock and her son in a park, says Jay, and look! she’s trying to shield the kid’s face from the cameras. No pixelated photographs, no evident attempt to abide by PCC guidelines. Surely (he implies) another disgrace?

To which Silva says the Bullock snaps came via Mail Online (which he doesn’t control) not the Mail in print (which he does). “And if that was a British celebrity in a British park, we’d be asking a lot of questions.”

But this is an American park, featuring an American film star and her American son. It’s an American photo from an American paparazzo bought in America by a Mail Online journalist for the benefit of the 2.8m-a-day site users who don’t live in the UK (and do, mostly, live in the US). The Press Complaints Commission code, just like English law, doesn’t hold sway in America. Rather the contrary. British code rules designed to protect the privacy of British kids don’t apply anyway because this child (like many other children on the site) lives thousands of miles away. In short: this is globalisation max, available to anyone with a laptop and 10 seconds to spare. So what on earth is the point of spending Leveson time ruminating about it?

Puppy love

Let’s be clear. Arianna Huffington is quite right. There is too much bad news around. It is the perfect time to start a Huffington Post Good News section. I just wish it hadn’t started featuring, inter alia, the “inspiring” story of “the man who rescued stray puppies from a ditch in Afghanistan and found a home for them in Canada”. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds