PRIVACY AND FREEDOM OF PRESS IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY
REASONS FOR CHOICE OF TOPIC
The balance between Privacy and Freedom of expression has given rise to much debate in recent years as there is increase in competition between of media companies to sell more. They use their right to freedom of expression to invade a lot of people privacy to get attractive stories to sell more. This has caused many celebrities or people in the public domain privacy invaded by the media.
Privacy is a fundamental human right which must be enjoyed by every person. To define privacy is much like defining ones state of being. Privacy is a basic human and reasonable expectable of every person. Individuals must be protected against intrusion into his personal life or affairs or those of his family, by direct physical means or by publication of information. If people are able to release (private) information, with impunity, it might have the effect of illegitimately constraining person’s choices as to his or her private behaviour, interfering in a major way with his or her autonomy. It is essential to human flourishing however individual evaluations of privacy are difficult to define and the courts must balance each case accordingly.
Freedom of expression is very important for the English democracy and fundamental to the Media. The idea of freedom to engage in free expression and reception of ideas and opinions in various media is essential to human development. It is one of the principle theories of the media and is fundamental to democracy. This is true; however journalism in the current media age is proving to be consistently intrusive and the free speech or public interest defence ever less plausible
It is apparent that with two mutually supportive yet conflicting Convention rights, some kind of balance between Article 8 of and Article 10 ECHR must occur and upon close examination of specific cases, the ‘right to respect for ones private life, home and correspondence’, incorporated in Article 8, is somewhat over looked. In the case of Venables & Thompson v News group Newspapers it was clear that unequal weight was given in favour of Article 10 in which the judge stated “I am satisfied that I can only restrict the freedom of the media to publish of. the need for those restrictions can be shown to fall within the exceptions set out in Article 10(2)".Thus this statement highlights that the case was not looked at in a parallel context of equal rights.
The balancing between privacy and freedom of expression will remain to be a legal porcupine and the correct balance is essential in order to retain human autonomy as well as press freedom. The development of privacy rights in Britain’s may serve to prevent the degradation and commercialisation of journalism at ‘celebrities’ expense; and thus the weight now given to privacy may curb the media’s ‘increasingly invasive social environment’
Intrusion of people’s privacy by the media can causes a lot of damage to the affected person. Some of damages caused to these victims are not repairable and the consequences can cause untold hardship to the victims. Therefore there is the need to make the law more clear to prevent the media interfering with peoples privacy.
• February – May 2011 Maintain timetabled contact with Supervisor
• 29th May 2011 Draft chapter 1 submitted to Supervisor
• June- August 2011 Submit additional drafts Chapters 2-3
• September- October 2011 submit additional drafts chapters 4 -5
• November – December 2011 Submit chapters 6 – 7
February 2012 Final date for submission of the project
This research will be solely library based. I will be relying on text books, cases law, statutes, journal articles, and any other relevant sources that I will come across. List of possible books I have come across so far includes;
J Rozenberg, ‘Privacy and The Press’ (OUP: Oxford 2005)
Westin, Alan F. (Alan Furman), ‘ Privacy and Freedom’ (Boldley Head: London1970)
H Tomlinson and R Clayton, ‘Privacy and Freedom of Expression’; (2nd ed OUP: Oxford 2010)
R Wacks, ‘Privacy and Freedom of Expression’ (Blackstone : London 1995)
M Tugendhat and I Christie, ‘The Law of Privacy and The Media’ (OUP: Oxford 2002)
D J Moore, ‘Privacy : The Press and The Law’ (Palladian Law: Bembridge, Isle of Wight 2003)
M Colvin, ‘Developing Key Privacy Rights’ (Hart: Oxford 2002)
W R Snyder and D W Robert, ‘Media and Democracy’ New Brunswick, N.J. ; London : Transaction 1997