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London's Daily Mirror wins appeal against supermodel

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  1. Libel and Privacy

    NMU         GREAT BRITAIN         Privacy         Oct 16, 2002    

London’s Daily Mirror wins appeal against supermodel

  • British appeals court says newspaper coverage of Naomi Campbell’s drug addiction was not a breach of confidentiality.

The Daily Mirror, a London-based newspaper, won an appeal Oct. 14 in a privacy case concerning the paper’s coverage of supermodel Naomi Campbell’s drug problems.

Three Appeal Court judges ruled that Campbell’s drug addiction and therapy was a subject of legitimate public interest.

The Appeal Court ruling reversed a decision of the trial court, which had found in favor of Campbell. The trial court, known in Britain as the High Court, had ordered The Mirror on March 27 to pay Campbell £3,500 (roughly $5,400) for what it called a breach of confidence.

The High Court had said The Mirror went too far in exposing information about Campbell’s treatment and in revealing details that “bore the badge of confidentiality.” The paper’s coverage, which ran in February 2001, included pictures of Campbell leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. The model reportedly said she felt “shocked, angry, betrayed and violated” by the expose.

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, who delivered the decision of the Appeal Court, noted that Campbell is an internationally famous fashion model who has voluntarily sought publicity of her life. Before The Mirror’s report, Campbell told reporters she did not use drugs. The newspaper was justified, the court said, in reporting the falsity of Campbell’s statements and in using factual information and photos as proof of the model’s troubles.

Spokespersons for The Mirror told reporters the decision was an important media victory under British law.

(Campbell v. Mirror Group Newspapers) WT

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© 2002 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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