Writer JK Rowling’s success attracted the wrong kind of attention, UK press keeps her under siege. Ever since her first Harry Potter book became a success the no longer struggling single mom has been under constant supervision from the UK tabloids.
On Thursday, in front of the media ethics inquiry, JK Rowling and actress Sienna Miller painted a very vivid picture of what living in continuous anxiety, fear and anger means to the celebrities which caught the eye of the tabloid British press. The media intrusion on their personal lives undergoes for years and keeps them prisoners in their own houses.
JK told the British media ethics inquiry that she felt under siege and like a hostage when having journalists camped outside her home days at a time. After becoming successful her life turned into an endless marathon of car chases, midnight pursuits and intimate matters being made public which led to a constant feeling of being paranoid and anxious.
In return, the journalists’ attitude regarding the issue is very matter of fact. If you become famous, you’re simply asking for it.
The two were just a part of the numerous witnesses of how life can be turned upside down by the focus of British tabloids. The list includes Hollywood actor Hugh Grant, a former soccer player, a former aide to supermodel Elle MacPherson and parents of missing or murdered children.
The inquiry, put together by no other than the Prime Minister David Cameron, comes in the middle of a scandal regarding the alleged illegal eavesdropping of News of the World tabloid. The owner of the newspaper had to close down his business in July when evidence of illegal activities surfaced. There was proof of the newspaper accessing celebrities and politicians mobile phones voice mails.
News of the World lost over a dozen journalists and editors who had been arrested due to the allegations. Moreover, the scandal led to two top London police officers losing their jobs as well as Cameron’s media adviser and several senior Murdoch executives.
The scandal brought to surface an ongoing public debate about the balance between freedom of the press and respect for privacy. Ever since 1997 when her first book was published, Rowling had to put up with journalists stationed outside her house on a regular basis leading to her changing addresses after her house location was made public.
Even though the writer wouldn’t want to seclude herself completely from the public she wishes to keep her three children away from the tabloids. She was outraged to find that her 5 years old daughter brought back from school a note from a journalist. For the past years she made over 50 legal claims to Britain’s court or press watchdog regarding false stories and photos of her children.