View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Publishers
  2. National Newspapers
July 2, 2012updated 20 Sep 2012 9:08pm

Pap agencies face Post-Leveson crackdown

By Dominic Ponsford

Rogue picture agencies could face a post-Leveson crackdown in the wake of revelations that paparazzi outfit Big Pictures paid off an insider at Virgin Atlantic to reveal the flight details of high-profile figures.

Industry insiders said they were unsurprised by the actions of Big, which has been one of the leading celebrity picture agencies in the world.

A series of leaked emails were sent to Press Gazette and The Guardian in April which suggested a Virgin insider was routinely tipping off Big Pictures about the movements of high profile figures. Press Gazette was first to reveal that more than 60 celebs were involved.

Virgin Atlantic's reaction at the time was to raise questions about the authenticity of the emails and threaten legal action. But this week it admitted to Leveson they were accurate.

The reformed PCC is expected to suggest publishers take more responsibility pap agency pics they publish.


Big Pictures continued to maintain a wall of silence over the affair this week and declined to provide further details to Leveson.

Content from our partners
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution
Papermule: Workflow automation for publishers

One former pap said: 'Big Pictures are more aggressive or more ruthless than any other agency out there.

'I'm not surprised about what has come out at Leveson. There are lots of individuals out there leaking information about celebrities' movements without their knowledge."

The source said that they knew of one national press photographer operating ten years ago who had access to the Heathrow computer booking system.

Max Cisotti, of pap agency Xclusive Pix, said: 'I don't think people are surprised by the actions of Big Pictures, but it's not something I would condone."

Cisotti said he would welcome clear guidelines on privacy post-Leveson: 'Most newspapers aren't using that much pap material any more since the demise of the News of the World and the Leveson Inquiry."

Topics in this article : , ,

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network