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Should public figures expect a right to personal privacy? If so, how much privacy should they reasonably expect to enjoy?

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Introduction

Should public figures expect a right to personal privacy? If so, how much privacy should they reasonably expect to enjoy? Privacy is "an individuals right to be let alone" (Gordon: 163). Everyone views privacy differently and where one person might regard some thing as very private, another may not see it in the same light. Therefore, when in comes to reporting on a public figure, it could be fair to say that if the facts are retrieved legitimately, then it is not an invasion of privacy. This means that as long as the Journalists means are moral and legal, then it should cause no harm to others.Public figures are constantly in the limelight. Some say that this is a price they pay for being celebrities or highly rated recognisable figures. However, increasingly the issue of privacy has been raised and it would seem that some Journalists go too far in order to get the latest gossip or scandal. The death of Princess Diana brought home to the public something that many successful actors have known for years: the stress of being a "public figure". Celebrities and public figures have to deal with constant exposure and coverage which can be annoying, embarrassing, or worse. ...read more.

Middle

They are voluntary public people and therefore maybe scrutinised, but the papers should do so in an "accurate and fair context" (Reuss: 165). Campbell's case can also be used here to show that although a Celebrity and in the public eye, Naomi chose to keep her addiction and treatment secret. I feel that this was her every right as she is not some one who is in control of important decisions that will effect the public, e.g. an MP or countries leader. It is wrong to take photographs that have been obtained without permission, for example through trespassing on private property and stolen photographs just for public entertainment. Subjects should surely know if photographs are being taken and therefore give their permission. Fair enough the press cannot always advertise when they are observing people in such cases of having long lens cameras from off shore but if they are using these types of cameras, then surely they are doing something deceitful. They should be only allowed to take such pictures if their actions can be justified by their subjects actions causing harm to others. Publication is wrong in a variety of circumstances. In many circumstances publication of photographs often follows on from a pattern of harassment of a figure. ...read more.

Conclusion

Archard agrees that revealing politicians "sexual peccadilloes" (Archard: 85) can effectively display his hypocrisy and unsuitability for high office. This shows a high concern for public interest as it will prevent the public from being misled by showing officials as corrupt and dishonest. Therefore, if the exposure of a private matter serves a public interest then an invasion of privacy could be justified. Ultimately, there must be a line when it comes to invading ones privacy, especially in an illegitimate way. "Privacy has to do with keeping personal information non-public or undisclosed" (Archard: 83). Peoples views on privacy differs greatly and where one person may be happy to disclose certain information, another might be embarrassed. Therefore, we must only disclose private matters when they cause harm to others. Celebrities must expect some invasion of privacy in being famous but it should not cross a line. I believe that only when it causes harm to others need it be made public. For example, although it was not our right to know about ex-Presidents Clinton sexual liaisons, it was our right to know that he had lied under oath. Therefore, when celebrities do commit adultery or use drugs, they must be aware that their actions might lead to other consequences that will involve all information coming out. They deserve as much privacy as an every day person in most cases but not when it comes to causing harm to others. ...read more.

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