This evening's Panorama deals with one of the most controversial issues facing journalism: privacy. The Human Rights Act guarantees two competing rights viz: freedom of expression and the sanctity of private life.  In the competition between them, where does the public interest lie?  Many editors believe that the courts' interpretation of the right to privacy in cases such as that of Max Mosley v  the News of the World is creating a 'chilling' effect on journalism.  In the past public figures pursued by journalists would reach for their libel lawyer. Now they are turning to the courts to protect their privacy. The threat to traditional red top kiss and tell stories is real, but is kiss and tell in the public interest or just an example of what the public is interested in? Panorama: The Death of Kiss and Tell, is on BBC One tonight (Monday, 15 June) at 2030. Journalists all over the country will watch it.   

Comments

And I was quite intrigued about the youth offender's home case. The press in my view should have been allowed to report that for the peace of mind of local residents living there and it seems within the public interest to do so.

I also thought the tongue in cheek comment about needing a note to be signed in order for celebs to be allowed to be photographed was quite true. What state will the press be in if we have to almost be required to sign something before taking a picture?

It's a difficult issue which can hopefully be resolved, but an interesting one too.

Personally, I think paparazzis are an exceptional case to the argumentation of Freedom of Information. They barely make it into what I call journalism. While I consider home to be a man's castle - under this, is also the Data Protection - everything else public (again, excluding personal data - doctors, therapies, families, etc). To a whopping extent, everything 'public', also has "public's right to know" all over it. Again, if a real public interest is proven, such arbitruary borders theoretically should mean nothing. As examples: a persons therapy sessions are private, but her being infront of a therapy office is not public; an MP's/footballer's sex life is personal, unless he or she revealed something that could be proven to be hazardous, illegal or otherwise involves public's rights.

A bit rambling here.

However, what must be noted, is that such lines between privacy and freedom of speech will always be very blurry and curved. Furthermore, both the "publics" (newspapers, in this case) and the "privates", will find ways to get around or push aforementioned limits.

Panorama: The death of kiss and tell