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Max Mosley in bid to 'gag' Sun, Times and Daily Mail from reporting past sex orgy and his funding ties to Impress

Press reform campaigner Max Mosley is attempting to use data protection laws to “gag” newspapers from reporting his involvement in a sex orgy years ago and his funding links to Impress.

The former motor racing boss has threatened legal action against the Times, Sun, Daily Mail  and the Mirror, Press Gazette has learned.

Mosley has issued the claim under the Data Protection Act and claims use of his “sensitive personal data” in articles published by the titles is a breach of principles enshrined in the act.

In a letter to the newspapers, seen by Press Gazette, lawyers for the well-known press reform campaigner call on the titles to “rectify”, “block” or “erase” data that is “inaccurate” or that expresses an opinion “based on inaccurate data”.

Mosley wants the newspapers to stop referring to the News of the World story in 2008 that exposed his involvement in an orgy with paid dominatrices, over which he won £60,000 in privacy damages.

The Sun said the move was a “bid to gag the press”. It added: “If Mosley wins the case, even the public judgement about the orgy story may never be allowed to be reported again.”

The Daily Mail said it was a “chilling attack on press freedom” while the Times used a leader column to say that the Data Protection Act was “not passed to muzzle the press”.

Mosley is also targeting claims that he directly funds alternative press regulator Impress – a rival to the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which regulates the vast majority of the UK press.

Impress is funded through the Independent Press Regulation Trust, which in turn is backed by a guaranteed £3.8m funding deal over four years by the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust, in which Mosley is a trustee.

Mosley has previously told the BBC: “Where the money comes from doesn’t matter. If it had come from the National Lottery, exactly the same, Impress is completely independent.”

Judges rejected a High Court challenge by the News Media Association last year that Impress’s dependence on third-party funding from Mosley meant it should not have been recognized as an official press regulator.

They said that, while Impress was dependent on Mosley – “a proponent of strict regulation of the press” – this did not undermine the body’s independence.

The Sun has said Mosley has also called on the newspapers to “recognise he is not a racist” over reports that he was fined for obstructing a cop while taking part in a demo against an anti-apartheid rally in 1961.

Mosley has campaigned against racism while working as president of Formula One governing body the FIA, pledging in 2008 to do “whatever it takes to stamp this out” of the motor racing sport.

In the letter from lawyers, sent out on Monday, the continued publication of these claims is said to be causing Mosley “substantial distress which is unwarranted”.

It adds: “The data contains our client’s sensitive personal data (i.e. data relating to our client’s sexual life) that is not processed fairly or lawfully; constitutes irrelevant and excessive processing of sensitive personal data and is data that has been processed/kept longer than necessary.”

The Daily Mail reported that Mosley has claimed the paper’s owner, Associated Newspapers, had breached data protection principles in 34 articles published since 2013.

Mosley has written in Press Gazette about his claim against the newspapers.

He said: “Storing and repeatedly publishing false information, such as the claim that I control Impress, together with information that has been ruled to be not in the public interest, like the News of the World story, are precisely the sort of abuses the Data Protection Act is there to prevent.”

Picture: BBC

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2 thoughts on “Max Mosley in bid to 'gag' Sun, Times and Daily Mail from reporting past sex orgy and his funding ties to Impress”

  1. The cat’s out of the bag Mr Mosley..”the moving finger writes and having writ moves on, nor all your piety nor all your wit can lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all your tears wash out a word of it” Omar Khayyam..1048-1141.. A thousand years little changes..

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