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In: Ethics & Journalism

Chapter 7: Private Lives and Public Interest

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Private Lives and Public Interest
Private lives and public interest

Sometimes, like Greta Garbo, we want to be alone; sometimes, like Mae West, we do not.

Lord Chancellor's Department and the Scottish Office, Infringement of Privacy, 1993.

We live in a society in which many people depend on publicity to make a living. Politicians, television ‘celebrities’, pop stars and sports personalities can't do without it. In the words of one British editor, Princess Diana would have ‘withered on the vine’ without the attentions of the press. But together with this cult of celebrity there is also a concern about invasions of privacy. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was the single biggest reason for criticism of British journalists' behaviour by politicians. Privacy is probably the greyest moral area ...

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