Editorial: Danish confidentiality
The talk of the town is that the weekly gossip magazine Se og Hør used information leaked by an employee of the national payment system Dankort (now Nets) to learn the whereabouts of celebrities such as Prince Joachim and Princess Marie’s honeymoon resort.
Others are also aggrieved, such as stand-up comedian Casper Christensen and his former wife, the actress Iben Hjejle, and those insulted that they weren’t being tracked.
A number of journalists have been suspended and former editors are running out of excuses, and it is now taken as fact that such confidentiality breaches have been part of the daily routine at the magazine, and that bosses not only knew about it, but endorsed the practice and fired those who objected.
And now, quite some time after the source stopped working for Nets, the story has hit the public eye with the ferocity of a page-turning novel, proving how real-life can often surpass even the best fiction.
Heads will roll, the excuses will continue and politicians will bark about stronger measures, tighter control and what have you. Yes, the politicians, who never miss a chance to counterattack the press.
But the disclosure of confidential material is a crime. Whether current legislation is inadequate remains to be seen.
Like the phone hacking scandal in the UK and the disclosures of Edward Snowden, the interesting thing will be to see what the public do.
Se og Hør has a print run of more than 100,000 copies per week. The folk tribunal can now decide what the politicians and the legal system cannot do – they can give their verdict in the most brutal way.
Even if they don’t stop buying Se og Hør, it may still follow the way of British tabloid News of the World and fall on its sword.
If not, we will have to follow the correct legal procedures to punish the culprits and the professional stigmatisation of the lowlife journalists who did not live up to the ethical standards of the trade and their publisher.
If people do not stop buying the magazine, then at least we will know that the readers of gossip are not restrained by the finer nuances of confidentiality protection, and that when it comes to gossip they could not care less.
The people are always right, aren’t they?