Private Lives Of Public Figures Essay

Media Should Respect Privacy of Public Figures Essay

1366 Words6 Pages

The Media Should Respect Privacy of Public Figures

How much privacy of the individual is protected under the United States Constitution? Every one is entitled to the right of privacy, but to what extent is that privacy granted? Public figures are constantly being harassed and photographed by the media. Some photographers and reporters will go to any means, even illegal actions, to get a picture or story. However, public figures are human beings like everyone else, and the media should give them more privacy. The media needs to operate with more respect for both laws and for moral and ethical codes of conduct. There are laws establishing the privacy of an individual, and the media needs to extend these rights to public figures.…show more content…

Additionally, the Supreme Court ruled in the 1964 Sullivan v. New York Times case that vulnerability is taken as a price of admission to the public arena. Thus, the privilege to cover public figures is almost unlimited, and public figures have few privacy rights.

People reasonably expect privacy inside a house or fenced yard not visible from the street and inside living facilities such as in hospitals and nursing homes. Photographers need permission to both enter and photograph these private places. However, anyone is fair game to be photographed and have their picture published if the photo was taken from a public place. This includes people seen through the windows of their own home (Dill, 178). However, one New York Court ruled that photographers shooting inside a restaurant needed permission because the restaurant was a public place for purposes of dining, and patrons dining there should reasonably be allowed to dine in peace (Dill, 177). Even though it is currently legal to photograph public figures in the privacy of their own homes, ethically speaking it does not mean these pictures should be published. However, because ethical codes are not working, there needs to be legal reform.

Additionally, breaking and entering or using trickery, impersonation, fraud and disguise to gain admission to a private area are illegal. Even though these acts are illegal, some members of the media still break the law to get the picture or story they want. Often times,

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To What Extent Should The Private Lives Of Public Figures Be The Subject Of Media Coverage?

To what extent should the private lives of public figures be the subject of media coverage?

Public figures are those who have got their positions through the choice of their people, people who have been elected to lead the country or who hold responsible positions in their societies. They are people like royalty, presidents, prime ministers, ministers and members of parliament. To this we could add judges, public prosecutors and other important civil servants. It is true that they are often the subject of news hounds. Public figures are often reported at length on all their activities and quite a lot of it concerns their private lives. The question is should their public lives be an open book and should we all be concerned about what they do in their own time? Can we draw a line and say that they should be just like other top management people of large corporations. These people seem to be at liberty to do what they like in their own time. Few peo​ple, even the media, care if they cheat on their wives as long as they are honest in their jobs and do not break the law. However there seems to be lot of concern about what a minister does - at all times.

First of all it seems logical that powerful people need to be watched more closely than ordinary people. The reasons are simple. They could abuse their powers. This has happened quite often all over the world. Also, if they fall, they will take many down with them. If a minister falls, he may take his party down with him; if an ordinary man falls, there will not be much consequence. Only his family may suffer with him. Much more is at stake when a public figure errs and thereby causes ripples throughout the country. A minister having an extra-marital affair is a seri​ous thing in most countries. The premise is that a man who cheats on his wife is not to be trusted with the destiny of the nation. It seems that if he is dishonest in one area, he is likely to be dishonest in other areas too. For this reason, public figures are closely watched by the media and reported on regularly.

Media coverage of public figures should be close and the people should be informed about what their leaders are doing. This...

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