Interesting article - well worth a read imo.Why isn't BBC presenter being named by the media?
Two questions are burning today in relation to the allegations concerning a BBC star: do they amount to a crime and why isn't he being named by journalists?
Let's take each in turn.
Firstly, the question of a crime. The allegations are fairly straightforward.
The presenter is said to have paid a young person an awful lot of money for sexualised pictures. The payments are said to have begun when the teenager was 17 - which is over the age of sexual consent.
But that's not the relevant law when it comes to allegedly indecent images.
The Protection of Children Act 1978 says that it is a crime to take, make, share and possess indecent images of people under 18.
The maximum sentence is 10 years.
A person under the age of 18 cannot give their consent to the images being taken.
If the mother's account to the Sun is true, you don't need to be a lawyer to see the potential for a prosecution.
These laws have been tightened over the years to protect young people aged 16 and 17 from sexual exploitation.
There's a debate among sexual offences experts whether the law should criminalise some teenagers who are in a relationship - but that debate is entirely different to the allegation of a famous adult using their power over someone far younger.Why is the media not naming the man?
This is a complicated newsroom equation that criss-crosses between editorial ethics and the law.
Here's the problem: As of Sunday, the BBC star story is more questions than answers.
The Sun's coverage is somewhat coy about specifics.
It is not clear whether it has seen proof of the payments or the alleged photograph of the star in underwear.
And this is where the law bites.
The courts have long recognised that it is in the public interest for journalists to unmask "the fraudulent and the scandalous", to quote one famous case, but if there is a lack of reportable evidence, the legal problems begin to build.
The first is the law of defamation which protects an individual's reputation from the massive harm caused by lies.
It protects everyone from a high-profile BBC presenter to an entirely private individual.
Anyone speculating today on social media about the identity of the presenter should think very, very carefully about the consequences. They could be sued for the harm they cause and financially ruined.
An innuendo can be just as catastrophic to reputation.
Ten years ago, Sally Bercow, wife of the then Speaker of the House of Commons, had to pay damages to the late Lord Robert McAlpine, a Conservative peer.
The High Court ruled that one of her tweets - which did not name the peer - had wrongly suggested he was a paedophile.
The risks don't end there, thanks to a 1986 case that leaves bona fide trained journalists with the shivers.
Back then, a newspaper reported an allegation that a detective in Banbury's CID unit had raped a woman.
It did not name the detective. But the unit only comprised of 12 officers. Members of that group successfully sued, saying enough people knew who they were to assume that they might be the guilty party.
So even if a news organisation chooses not to name the presenter, they could inadvertently implicate an entirely innocent colleague.
But that's not the only reason why the BBC presenter has so far not been named.The privacy issue
One of the most complex areas of law journalists grapple with today is privacy.
A central question that has bounced around newsrooms this weekend is whether the person they want to point a finger at has a "reasonable expectation" of privacy in relation to the facts of the story.
Since a major Supreme Court ruling in 2022, a right to privacy covers people who are under investigation by a law enforcement agency - meaning the stage before they have been formally charged with a crime and sent to the courts.
The rationale for that protection is that if the police drop the case, they would have suffered untold unjustifiable damage to their reputation by being identified in the media.
Not all claims made against people in the public eye lead to provable evidence of wrongdoing.
Sometimes a complainant has an ulterior motive or, sadly, is unwell.
That's not to suggest the allegations should be brushed to one side and not taken seriously.
On the contrary. It becomes all the more important to work out the truth.
But if journalists are short of actual facts, the legal risks they face in implicating someone in wrongdoing are huge.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-66148321