Ethics Essay - Fourth Estate

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Media spotlight has the ability to change people’s lives dramatically, in some cases it is accidental, every day people minding their own business and as a consequence of being involved in an incident which resulted in either an inspiring or devastating outcome which resulted the private lives being thrust into the media spotlight. Whilst other people who have obtained media attention due to their public appointment have had the same experience, their lives altered dramatically due to media’s invasion of their privacy in the name of public interest. The Fourth Estate, a name given to the media who traditionally have been charged as the custodian for public interest, the publics watch dog, their responsibility to the public sphere is to warn us, some times educate us and they have the ability to entertain us, they also ensure that people exercising power are kept in check and held accountable. However, there is a debate looming, is it possible that today’s Media, are the one’s who now need to kept in check and made accountable. The Australian Law Reform Commission, have put the Unfair Publication Defamation and Privacy legislation back on the agenda, as they believe the public are having their privacy scrutinized not for interest of the public, but for public interest. Having the legislation back on the agenda has caused much angst of the media industry, who strongly believe any more statute regulations will threaten to undermine the viability of the Fourth Estate.

Overall, this essay will argue that, any new legislation will only benefit the Law profession, if the media truly believe that the Fourth Estate, whilst not constitutional, it has played an important role in our democracy over time, is worth fighting for so, it does not become invalid due to new regulation, they must admit to themselves that because of their fascination with the private behavior of public figures, the public are voicing their concern with this fascination and the methods used by...
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