The editor of the News of the World, Colin Myler, has reacted to the High Court's decision to award FIA president Max Mosley ?60,000 in damages for an invasion of privacy by stating he fears for the freedom of the British press.

Mosley was victorious in his case against the 'paper for it's reporting of his involvement in an orgy with five prostitutes which the News of the World claimed had Nazi connotations.

Although he accepted that the incident had occurred, Mosley denied that Nazi claims from the outset, with Judge Mr Justice Eady ruling that there was no Nazi role-play involved and that the newspaper had invaded Mosley's privacy in running its expos?.

Speaking outside the High Court following the ruling, Myler - who was previously forced to resign from a similar role with the Sunday Mirror after it ran article that led to the collapse of a trial against Leeds United footballers Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate - defended the decision to run the article which it believed to be both legitimate and lawful.

"For the past two weeks, the News of the World has been on trial in Court 13 of the High Court," Myler told the waiting press. "We have been accused of gross intrusion into the private life of Max Mosley, the president of the FIA and the leader of Formula One motorsport.

"The newspaper was in the dock for publishing details of his five-hour S&M orgy with five prostitutes in a Chelsea flat. In court, Mr Mosley admitted to enjoying these activities for 45 years, a fact of which his wife and children were unaware. The judge has ruled that Mr Mosley's activities did not involve Nazi roleplay as we had reported but has acknowledged that The News of the World had an honest belief that a Nazi theme was involved during the orgy.

"The newspaper believed that what it published on 30 March 2008 was legitimate and lawful and moreover, the publication was justified in by the public interest in exposing Mr Mosley's serious impropriety. As the elected head of the FIA, Mr Mosley is the leader of the richest sport in the world with a global membership of almost 125 million.

"This newspaper has always maintained that because of his status and position, he had an obligation to honour the standards that his vast membership had the right to expect of him. Taking part in depraved and brutal S&M orgies on a regular basis does not in our opinion constitute the fit and proper behaviour of someone is his hugely influential position."

Despite the ruling going against his 'paper, Myler added that he was 'delighted' that the ruling handed down by Mr Justice Eady has acknowledged that Mosley was partly responsible for what had happened and that no exemplary damages had been awarded.

However, he warned the freedom of the press had been hit by the ruling with the British media 'being strangled' by privacy laws coming from Europe.

"The News of the World believes passionately that its readers deserve to be informed of when their trust that has been placed in their elected leaders and public officials has been violated," he added. "It is not for the rich and the famous, the powerful and the influential to dictate the news agenda just because they have the money and the means to gag the free press.

"Unfortunately our press is less free today after another judgment based on privacy laws emanating from Europe. How those very general laws should work in practice has never been debated in the UK parliament. English judges are left to apply those laws to individual cases, here using guidance from judges in Strasbourg who are unfriendly to freedom of expression.

"The result is that our media are being strangled by stealth and that is why the News of The World will remain committed for its readers' rights to know."