Is our privacy really private?

A practical guide to Media Law by Milo and Stein. LexisNexis. 2013. 

Milo and Stein believe that the right to privacy is a personality right and that it should be protected by common law, the Constitution and the Legislation. This right is often infringed on in relation to public figures. This makes one wonder why the public is so interested in the lives of celebrities and public figures as opposed to their own lives. Why is it so important to keep up to date with the latest fashion trends from celebrities or what type of music they are releasing? Why is there the conscience invasion of their privacy where that right should be protected at its core?

Privacy includes one’s individual identity, the desire to be free from unwanted intrusions and interference by the state and other people. Yet this does not prohibit us from prying into people’s lives. The worst instance of this is not allowing a family to grieve in privacy. This doesn’t allow the deceased to be treated with dignity , even in their death. This is more prevalent with celebrities where families are hounded by media houses and not allowed to accept and mourn the loss they are experiencing.

Private facts are information that the person doesn’t want the public to know, it generally concerns their family, home, health and sexual life. There is this fixation on people’s sexual life but more so, their sexuality and how they wish to identify as.

The media frames these narratives and feeds society ways of dealing with and identifying issues which is problematic because it is based on an intrusion into people’s lives.  We need media houses to be forward thinkers and to frame narratives that are appropriate and that don’t appropriate people’s lived experiences for profits. We need to ensure that we remain humane while reporting, that is our duty as journalists.