"No one has the right to commit libel - and in some other countries, if not the U.S., defamatory material which, although true, is nobody else's business, is still libelous. The U.K. is such a country."
IANAL, but no, the UK isn't. I'm basing this off commonwealth law, which I believe is the same.
Off the top of my head, libel and slander count as defamation (depending if you wrote/published or said it), and the defenses for defaming someone are:
- Justification. If it's true, and ideally provable.
- Fair comment. Whilst false, a reasonable person may arrive at that conclusion.
- Privilege. Usually parliamentary, probably not relevant here.
So even if something is "no-one else's business", if it's true or reasonable to infer, then you can say it.
Whilst quite a lot of journalists are filthy muck rakers, a number just report the truth and have whatever slant put on it by their editors (not sure if that makes them better or worse), and a small number do a vital role in "speaking truth to power".
So in general while I dislike the Murdoch press and would perhaps like to see it run more honestly/honorably, but I fear any such powers will be used to quash the likes of Private Eye.
For the USians Private Eye is a weekly paper that tends to have been writing about pretty much every major scandal in the UK for *years* before the mainstream press picks it up. Ian Hislop (Lord Gnome) is the editor, and is pretty much a Terry Pratchett character come to life.