Do People in Public Life Have a Right to Privacy?

Essay by charlottehoepfl April 2003

download word file, 7 pages 4.0 2 reviews

Downloaded 263 times

Do People in Public Life Have a Right to Privacy?

People, famous or not, have a right to privacy, which is a basic human right. Although some of them have voluntarily made themselves known to the world, they are still entitled to live a life without others following them all the time, eavesdropping on what they say and being under surveillance. However, in the case of politicians or other powerful people, the right to privacy comes into conflict with another right, the public's right to know. The entitlement and the necessity to get informed are essential to guarantee democracy; this can only be achieved by the freedom of the press. Therefore the right to privacy of certain politicians sometimes has to be neglected to ensure a rightful running of our country. But do we need to get informed about everything there is?

We have to distinguish between famous people.

Basically there are those who were seeking a public life - or at least knew to some extent what they were going into - and those who were not. Politicians, athletes, actors, musicians, entertainers and members of royalty belong to the former. The latter are ordinary citizens who become significant, because of their extraordinary experiences, for example victims of crimes or tragedies, but also criminals.

The amount of ordinary citizens who receive their celebrity status unwillingly is quite big and the privacy of those people needs to be especially respected and maintained. Names, addresses or pictures that could lead to the identification of a person should never be made public. It is not of interest for the readers, and it usually does not make a difference for them, what the name of someone is, but for the one concerned publication of identity could mean embarrassment and harassment. Suspected criminals, for...