How Does The Media Invade People’s Privacy?

There is ongoing public concern about media intrusion into the private lives of citizens and public figures. This is often motivated by the need to serve public interest. Yet shouldn’t all individuals have the right to have their privacy respected and where do we draw the line between satisfying the curiosity of the public and violating an individual’s privacy?

In a recent assignment, a group of fellow BCM110 students and I investigated this pertinent media issue, drawing on a variety of case studies which we presented to the class. This included:

  • Privacy invasions of the British Royal Family and, in particular, the role of the media in the death of Princess Diana;
  • High profile celebrities who, while victims of the media’s prying eye, also draw attention to themselves through social media;
  • Sporting stars who are criticised and vilified by the media when their behaviour does not live up to our increasingly high expectations of those in the public eye; and
  • Everyday people who are subject to vulture journalism, whereby journalists approach a grieving family about the death of a loved one.

An overview of some of the issues we discussed in these case studies are included in the Prezi below, which was used to accompany our presentation.

Finding an appropriate balance between privacy and serving the public interest is a challenge for those in the public spotlight, media and law makers alike, and will only become more challenging in a 24/7, on-line, interactive world.


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