QUESTIONS of editorial judgement are back in the news.

Channel 4 has been criticised for plans to broadcast videos of Princess Diana opening up to her speech coach about her troubled marriage. The decision to air the programme ahead of the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death has been seen by friends of the princess as a betrayal of privacy.

It comes as BBC presenter Vanessa Feltz was upset by a column in The Sunday Times which suggested she earns more than her female colleagues because she is Jewish. Ms Feltz rightly questioned how the “obviously racist” piece found its way into print, in the paper’s Irish edition.

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Editor Martin Ivens apologised and said it should never have been published. He is correct. How it slipped through the net, however, says as much about how resources in newsrooms have been cut over the years, meaning there are fewer sub-editors carrying out checks and balances, as it does about the judgement used by editors.

The Diana tapes are another matter entirely. This is a case where an editor faces an ethical judgement about whether recordings never intended for broadcast should appear on TV.

In our opinion they should not.

The timing is clearly intended to earn the owner of the tapes the largest possible fee and attract a bumper audience. Some of the material will upset Diana’s family and broadcasting it around the anniversary of her death is a cynical decision in bad taste.

It is undoubtedly a document of historical interest and there may be a time when its contents can be shown without causing distress – but that time is not now.

At a time when some readers and world leaders accuse media outlets of peddling fake news it is vital that newspapers and broadcasters uphold traditional values of balance, fairness and good taste wherever possible.