Paparazzi: How Far Is Too Far?

1693 words - 7 pages

The term paparazzo is defined as “a freelance photographer who pursues celebrities to get photographs of them.” (Definition of paparazzo, 2011) The name originated from the last name of a photographer in the 1960 film La Dolce Vita. (Green) Yet the meaning from the word paparazzo denotes a stronger meaning than just a freelance photographer. The paparazzi are notorious for their persistent and annoying personalities who will go through any measure to get the shot that they wish for.
The main targets of the paparazzi are the celebrities who enchant the public. The public’s obsession with that person encourages the paparazzi to pursue the celebrity and encourages them to participate in acceptable invasive antics. It is only when harm occurs that the public is outraged by the paparazzi’s newsgathering techniques.
A notable example of inappropriate intrusion involved the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed, who were killed on August 31 1997 in a high-speed car chase in Paris, France while being chased by the paparazzi. The death brought a lot of criticism to the media and its newsgathering techniques, especially those by the paparazzi. The media’s attention to celebrities has caused a loss of privacy and a skewed view on private and public issues for celebrities. This loss comes from the categorization of celebrities as public figures, meaning their every day lives are subject to an extensive scrutiny unlike an average person. The public thrives on the intrusion into the lives of celebrities because of their obsession with wanting to know every bit of gossip. The paparazzi fulfill this fixation by gathering the information that the public longs to consume.
The methods of the paparazzi are condemned as invading the privacy rights of celebrities. The problem arises is the ability in prosecuting the paparazzi because their work occurs in public places where the right to privacy is greatly limited. Courts have held a tort law that says there is no intrusion when the media photograph from a public setting, a passerby could have just as easily have seen or heard for themselves (Siegel, 2002).
While The Constitution has no overt mention of the right to privacy, the courts have recognized a constitutional right to privacy. Before the 19th century, privacy was a term that was not on the minds of rural Americans. (Pember & Calvert, 2011) And the end of the 19th century, the right for privacy became a very important need. Journalism focused on the sensational events that focused on the rich and the famous throughout the urbanized cities. The first published proposal for the legally recognized right of privacy came from Samuel D. Warrens and Louis D. Brandeis in the Harvard Law Review. The article “The Right to Privacy,” appeared in 1890 and is recognized as the foundation of the modern law of privacy. (Pember & Calvert)
The right of privacy has developed to protect four main areas of privacy: (1) intrusion, (2) publication of...

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