How much is the price of privacy?

So just who is the mystery footballer who is trying to hush up his affair with the talented Big Brother star Imogen Thomas?

I know.

So do 10000s of Twitter followers! Twitter are being sued as a result.

Yet, still the national media are not allowed to write his name…well actually, the Scottish Herald has published the footballer with a black stripe over his face with the headline ‘Censored’ – but guess what? They are being sued! So what is actually going on?

In short, a number of celebrities and politicians have issued ‘super injunctions’ trying to hush up certain bad news. But of late, thanks largely to the uncontrollable nature of emedia it has been hard to quash certain stories. Moreover, the ‘mass’ media have a vested interest in fighting privacy laws as these scandals provide important fodder for red tops and even the quality press.

So essentially, this is an age old debate about privacy – how much protection should we expect from the press? What can be considered ‘in the public interest’? Can laws be upheld in a  new media based globalised world?

Professor Geoffrey Stone, the distinguished editor of the Supreme Court Reviewin the US states: “Just as the law can no longer effectively deal with obscenity because of social and technological change, so too can it no longer deal with non-newsworthy invasions of privacy,” he writes. “For all practical purposes”, the defences of privacy “have been gobbled up completely.” So, whether in Seattle or the Strand, we had “better learn to live with it”.


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