Pap quits over hounding of Britney Spears as Alastair Campbell springs to her defence

A photographer from US-based celebrity news agency Splash has reportedly quit in protest at the hounding by journalists of pop star Britney Spears.

Nick Stern told The Guardian that he has resigned from British-owned agency Splash in protest against the “aggresive tactics” used by journalists pursuing spears.

Spears was last night sectioned under Californian law for her own safety amid fears for her mental health.

Stern told The Guardian: “Directly or indirectly, Britney is going to come to some horrific end, or a member of the public wlll. It’s not what’s being done, it’s the way it’s being done. As she continues to deteriorate psychologically, I just can’t see a positive way out.”

He said: “The paps are completely out of control. It’s not unusual to have 20 or 30 cars pursuing her at any one time. It’s become acceptable to drive at 80mph down the wrong side of the street into oncoming traffic. I was horrified at what goes on. It’s so aggressive, there are fights and crashes and slashed tyres. I felt I needed to say something.”

Former Downing Street spokesman Alistair Campbell weighed into the debate over coverage of Spears today writing in The Times: “Being a hard-nosed journalist does not require you to suspend basic humanity.”

Delivering the Cudlipp lecture at the London School of Communications on Monday night, Campbell noted that legendary Daily Mirror editor Hugh Cudlipp had a policy of sacking any journalist who intruded into private grief.

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