Steven Barnett discusses what Cliff Richard versus the BBC means for press freedom
On Wednesday Sir Cliff Richard was awarded a minimum of £210,000 in damages after successfully suing the BBC for a serious breach of his privacy. The court ruling followed a major BBC news report in August 2014 – including helicopter footage of the police searching his property – that Richard was being investigated over claims of historic sexual abuse. No charges were ever brought, and in response Richard spent millions of pounds fighting the broadcaster, successfully arguing that the BBC’s right to name him did not outweigh his right to privacy.
The case is seen as a major blow to the BBC, but has also sent shock-waves across the wider media landscape as the impact of this judgement becomes more apparent. With the potential for this case to limit the naming of individuals who are under police investigation, Prof. Steven Barnett was invited to discuss the case and its implications on Radio 5 Live. His thoughts, along with more background on this story, and a discussion with Prof. Angela Phillips of Goldsmiths can be listened to via the BBC iPlayer.