Do celebrities, pop stars, football players, anyone in the public eye for that matter forfeit their right to privacy? Is it right to suggest that merely because they like good publicity that they should be prevented from objecting when the publicity is bad? In this essay I will concentrate on whether celebrities ought to have the right to keep certain aspects of their life private – and whether their private life should be more respected by the media.
Today we live in a celebrity culture that is being dominated and exploited by the media. In a bid to satisfy the public’s interest in celebrities it is ever-present that the news and entertainment media are going well beyond the point of providing consumers with basic information. “In this cult of celebrity, images of stars, people ‘famous for being famous’, are circulated and consumed daily across the world” (Penfold, 2004: 289).
It is a generally accepted fact that the right to privacy is everyone’s right. Some critics argue that celebrities gave away that right the moment they became famous. However, it’s important to recognise that not all celebrities choose to be famous, and the media’s over intrusive behaviour toward celebrities cannot always be justified. These individuals ought to have the right to protect certain aspects of their private lives on the basis of human rights.
The media attention that celebrities receive has resulted in a total lack of privacy regarding both public and private issues. This loss is mainly due to the status of celebrities as public figures, which exposes them to more extensive scrutiny compared to the average person.
In recent times our obsession with public figures has grown, especially with the advances in technology. The paparazzi are constantly hounding celebrities and will go to any length to get the shot that they desire. As a result of the public’s obsession with celebrities, the paparazzi are encouraged to proceed with their invasive behaviour. The techniques which the paparazzi use to obtain their photographs are constantly criticized as unethically invading the privacy rights of celebrities.
The freedom of press had been put in place because it is the people’s right to know, although the press seem to forget that free press is supposed to be for the benefit of the public. There might be important information about a public figure that people should be told about, however in most situations the paparazzi are most certainly in the wrong. A public figure may stagger home drunk without the knowledge of anyone, therefore if the paparazzi take a photograph of the event what gives them the right to place this into the public domain?
Paul McMasters (2004) argues that contemporary journalism has become too sensational, too superficial, too immersed in celebrity, too invasive, too riddled with mistakes and more damaging in the long run. However freelance celebrity photographer Russell Turiak (n.d.) argues that there's a separate...