Privacy Rights and the Media
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Discusses the issue of privacy rights and the media in terms of celebrities the ...... More...
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Discusses the issue of privacy rights and the media in terms of celebrities, the Freedom of Information Act, and cameras in the courtroom.
Privacy Rights and Freedom of the Press Americans expect that constitutionally guaranteed rights includingspecific privacy rights such as the right to be free from libel defamation or illegal searches and seizures will be both respected andprotected by law At issue in this brief essay is an analysis of theprivacy expectations of Americans the responsibilities of the mass mediawith respect to privacy rights and the importance of the free press inmany different settings There are three general types of privacy bodily or physical
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These are some of the key issues that directly affect individualrights to privacy and the exercise of freedom of the press. Any person canfile a FOIA request, including foreign nationals as well as universitiesand associations. The First Amendment guaranteeing a free pressseems to be at odds with the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees an accusedperson a fair trial by an impartial jury (Applegate, 2 7). There are three general types of privacy, bodily or physical privacy,mental or communicational privacy, and informational privacy (Applegate,2 7). Any individual who lives a public lifeeither as an actor, singer, or government official is likely to beconsidered an acceptable focus for media investigation. Public trialsare for the benefit of defendants and not the media, but trials aregenerally open to the public and the media. Cameras in federal courts. Regardless of whether or not an individual who is inthe public eye wishes to remain private, the First Amendment to the U.S.Constitution guarantees that a free press has the right to reportaccurately and fairly on any and all items that can be considerednewsworthy (Willis, 2 7). The government does, in a democracy,possess the right to control or limit the press when it would beirresponsible to permit a free press to publish indiscriminately. While certain national securityfiles or data along with privileged communications and law enforcementrecords are not available for public review under the FOIA, a substantialnumber of government documents, reports, memos, and other materials areaccessible not only to the press, but to ordinary citizens. Retrieved August 7, 2 8, from www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/foia/guide.htmlTunheim, J.R. John R. The media is limited in reporting certain types of information aboutindividuals (Willis, 2 7). Applegate(2 7) states that when an individual becomes news, he or she loses many ofthe de facto rights to privacy the ordinary citizen enjoys. Privacy Rights and Freedom of the Press Americans expect that constitutionally guaranteed rights, includingspecific privacy rights such as the right to be free from libel,defamation, or illegal searches and seizures, will be both respected andprotected by law. One of the great safeguards given to a free press in the UnitedStates is the 1966 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a federal law thatestablishes the public's right to obtain information from federalgovernment agencies (FOIA basics, 2 8). The issue ischallenging because the very celebrities who are most likely to complainabout excessive media intrusiveness have benefited from the media publicitythat makes their careers possible. Freedom of the press. It helps to inform the citizenry aboutmatters that are of substance and which help to shape voting behavior.Applegate (2 7) notes that freedom of the press is often inhibited throughgovernment control and censorship, particularly in the interests ofnational security or in times of war. (2 7). At issue in this brief essay is an analysis of theprivacy expectations of Americans, the responsibilities of the mass mediawith respect to privacy rights, and the importance of the free press inmany different settings. Tunheim (2 7), a federal court judge,believes that cameras in courts can create security and privacy concernsfor many individuals, some of whom are not even parties to the case butabout whom very personal information may be revealed during a trial. (2 8). Paparazzi, tabloids, and the new Hollywood press: Can celebrities claim a defensible publicity right in order to prevent the media from following their every move. (2 7). FDCH Congressional Testimony. Privacy rights do not provide refuge forcelebrities or other well known individuals when they are in public.Consequently, the paparazzi and the tabloid reporters have become extremelyaggressive in recent years with regard to capturing information about thisclass of individuals that may be considered private. Social Security numbers and other personallyidentifying information cannot be published and the press is required underpenalty of law to ensure that any information that it reports about thepersonal life and activities of an individual is accurate. Citizens expect thatthe press will respect their privacy by refraining from intrusivereporting, but in reality, celebrity status seems to make an individual"fair game" in mass media driven society (Applegate, 2 7). It is impossibleto have a free press without some potential for an invasion of personalprivacy. Cameras in the courtroom have been permitted despite the fact thatthe Federal Judicial Conference has consistently expressed the view that in-court camera coverage can do irreparable harm to a citizen's right to afair and impartial trial. A free press is viewed as necessary tothe stability of the nation, but the rights of individuals to be free fromintrusion into their private lives are equally significant. Nevertheless, a free press helps to ensure an honest governmentbecause it continually scrutinizes the activities of government and ofgovernment officials and employees. (2 7). Certainly, the press is prohibited from false reporting (Tunheim,2 7). The reporting interests of the media may conflict with privacy rightsin any number of instances. Willis (2 7)comments that America is still struggling to find a viable compromisebetween these two sets of rights. The FOIA Act was amended in 1996 to allow for greateraccess to electronic information (FOIA basics, 2 8). Retrieved August 7, 2 8, from http://web.ebscohost.comWillis, K.D. Public Relations Quarterly, 52(1), 2-8.FOIA basics. Texas Review of Entertainment and Sports Law, 9(1), 1175-2 2. In some instances, trials arefilmed and the film is made available to the mass media (Tunheim, 2 7). When this occurs, the press is present andin all likelihood will write about or videotape the individuals even ifthey wish otherwise. Many individuals find themselves thrust into the public eye eithervoluntarily or involuntarily. ReferencesApplegate, E.
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