Sunday, July 27, 2008


The comments keep on coming.

I don’t understand your line of reasoning re the Max Mosley case as it applies to Sampson Nanton. The News of the World published the story and videos alleging that the S&M orgy contained Nazi references and overtones. If they could have proved this "in court, the ruling may have gone in their favour. As it turned out, their main witness, one of the orgy participants, refused to testify so their case fell apart. The judge ruled based on the evidence.

"If the orgy in fact had Nazi references, would the revelation of that not have been in the public’s interest given Mosley’s position as FIA president and the fact that his father supported the Nazis? I think so. The NOTW also thought so – or so they claimed. But the burden of proof was on the NOTW to prove this and they did not and lost the case.

"The Nanton case is quite different and it would be hard for the people who posted the photos on the Internet to prove that they did so in the public’s interest. But I am not familiar with all the facts of the Nanton case, so maybe you all can enlighten us a bit on exactly what transpired.

"When the Nanton pictures emerged, I actually thought the whole situation made for an interesting “story behind the story” piece dealing with privacy issues in the Internet age. I was surprised that none of the dailies – to my recollection – pursued this angle to the story.

"I saw that you also referenced the case of the Philadelphia anchor who was fired for hacking into his colleague’s email. Did someone hack into Nanton’s email or files at work? Again, I don’t know the facts of the case. But if that is what happened, then he can certainly bring a case for violation of privacy. But then this raises another question: Should he have had the pictures on his work computer in the first place? Because I assume that that would have been a violation of company IT privileges.

"Also, storing the photos on his work computer would have shown very bad judgment on his part. In the wrong hands, those photos could have been used to blackmail him or compromise him as a journalist.

"But hey, let's give the guy some love. After all, he did try to faithfully document his conquests like a serious journalist would. Hunter S. Thompson would be proud."


Here's our response:
In Sampson's case, the photos were on his laptop computer which he had taken to work with him. While he was reading the news, two young ladies in the newsroom gained access to the laptop files/photos and copied them without his knowledge and forwarded them to other people and that's how that whole mess started.

In the case of the Philadelphia anchor, he practically did the same thing - gaining access to the young woman's personal files which had nothing to do with him or the company, and giving that information to a newspaper for publishing.

In the case of Max Mosely, we take the point that if NOTW had been able to prove that Mosely was involved in anything to do with Nazi references, then it may have been in the public's interest to know about it. But then it raises the question of how the information was obtained and how it was used, and what is the media's role in these types of cases.

Should NOTW editors then have taken a decision to share the information with the police before publishing it if they thought the Nazi references were criminal? Or were they just trying to stir up scandal?
Whose interests were they really serving?
The problem we have with the media in Trinidad is that everything is sensationalised before being fully fleshed out. So by the time people sensibly start looking at an issue that's already been plastered across every newspaper and tv station, it's been so scandalised that it's often unclear what the real issue was in the first place.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We have been informed that Sampson "used the Company's Computer to record his bedroom activity,...", and "His computer was in the news room and the information was accessed from the IT department all the way downstairs the building."
You be the judge.