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msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 11/24/2011 11:12:47 AM ET 2011-11-24T16:12:47

Author J.K. Rowling told the U.K. phone-hacking hearing that she felt under siege from intrusive journalists who staked out her house and went as far as to slip a letter into her 5-year-old daughter's school bag.

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The creator of boy wizard Harry Potter said Thursday that children "deserve privacy," The Guardian newspaper reported in its live blog of events.

Rowling said media interest began shortly after the publication of her first novel in 1997, and soon escalated, with photographers and reporters frequently stationed outside her home.

Once, her daughter came home from primary school and Rowling found a letter from a journalist in her backpack. Rowling said she felt a huge sense of invasion at the move.

"In the first burst of publicity surrounding [Harry Potter]. I unzipped her school bag in the evening, among the debris I found an envelope addressed to me from a journalist," she said, according to The Guardian's report.

"It's my recollection that the journalist said he intended to ask a mother at the school to put this my daughter's bag. I know no more than that, I don't know if that is how the journalist [put it in the bag]," she added.

'Angry'
"I felt such a sense of invasion that my daughter's bag ...  it's very difficult to say how angry I felt that my five-year-old daughter's school was no longer a place of complete security from journalists," Rowling said.

She also told how she had chased a photographer a week after she had given birth, The Guardian reported.

Video: Hugh Grant testifies in phone hacking inquiry (on this page)

Rowling  said she had been "besieged for a week" in her house, but had thought the photographers had left. She went outside with her daughter, but then saw a paparazzi photographer with a long lens.

"How I thought I was going to outrun a 20-something paparazzi ... my daughter was saying 'Calm down, mum, calm down, it doesn't matter,' but it mattered enormously to me," Rowling said, according to The Guardian's reported.

"The cumulative effect [of the media attention] becomes quite draining," she added.

Rowling said she thought children should not be targeted by the media.

"They deserve privacy. They have no choice who their parents are how their parents behave.... Where children are concerned the issue is fairly black and white," she said.

She also told about how two journalists from a Scottish tabloid, who were outside her house, had told her they were there because it was a "boring day at the office."

"My family and I were literally under surveillance for their amusement," she said. "There's a twist in the stomach as you wonder what do they want, what have they got? It feels incredibly threatening to have people watching you."

The inquiry into media ethics and practices is being held following the phone-hacking scandal in the U.K.

No Nazi theme at orgy
Earlier, the tribunal heard first from former Formula One motorsport boss Max Mosley, who has campaigned for a privacy law since his interest in sadomasochistic sex was exposed in a tabloid.

In 2008, Mosley won £60,000 ($93,000) in damages from the News of the World over a story in which the paper published photos of him at a sadomasochistic orgy. The paper said incorrectly that the orgy had a Nazi theme and a judge decided the article had infringed Mosley's privacy.

Mosley, a son of Sir Oswald Mosley, former leader of the British Union of Fascists, said Thursday at the hearing that he had "never" sought publicity, BBC News reported.

Story: Phone-hacking scandal: James Murdoch insists he didn't mislead British lawmakers

"I first learnt of it (the article) about 10 o'clock on a Sunday morning," Mosley added, according to the BBC.

The Nazi allegations "were completely untrue and enormously damaging," he said. The journalist responsible for the story "simply invented the entire article," Mosley said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Hugh Grant testifies in phone hacking inquiry

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