Outrageous Invasions: Celebrities’ Private Lives, Media and the Law

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“Outrageous Invasions: Celebrities’ Private Lives, Media and the Law” is a book by Professor Robin D Barnes. Public people nowadays are being stalked, harassed and are not being able to protect their private lives, which is clearly a violation of their constitutional rights. In this book author analyzes the role and nature of privacy in United States and Europe, how celebrities’ private lives are being protected on both sides of ocean. Professor Barnes expresses her concerns of how press corporations are being protected by the law in United States, and their negative influence on credibility of media. Author analyzes development in cases both in United States Supreme Court and the High Courts of Europe. From these cases we can see that in U.S. celebrities are entitled to, but not receiving, the same protection as celebrities in Europe. Barnes notes that the right for privacy is equally important as speech rights, so while insuring protection for freedom of expression we also should value privacy and equality. Professor Barnes starts the book with the analysis of Case of Von Hannover v. Germany. According to author this surprising legal victory after more than ten years of battle with media defendants had big influence not only in Europe, but also internationally. This lawsuit brought a lot of media attention and debates about media and celebrities relation. Princess Caroline of Monaco is the daughter of American actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer III of Monaco, so naturally since her birth she had always been under great media attention. The subject of the lawsuit was an expose of her private life in German magazines, and all she wanted was protection of her personality, private life and control of her image. The European Court ruled in Caroline’s favor, ruling that the publications violated Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention by invading her privacy. And according to the book it “drew a necessary distinction between reporting facts that are capable of contributing to public debate in a democratic society… and reporting details of the private life of someone who exercises no official function.” Author also noticed that U.S. media did sparse media coverage on that matter and was mostly supporting the legitimacy of original publications. It is well known, that the press in U.S. is more protected by the constitutional right to freedom of expression, but unlike in U.S. in Europe, the Court of Human Rights showed more respect for human privacy and concluded that there should be limits to how press can cover daily lives of the rich and famous. According to book, European Court had several reasons ruling in Hannover’s favor. First of all, photos of her private life taken without her consent were not published to inform people, but mostly to entertain. Secondly, publishers obviously were only seeking profits. Thirdly, contexts that went with photos brought misinformation about Princess Caroline. European courts noticed that publishing about private life of rich in famous is very profitable for the media and coverage about their private life can boost sales. Unlike European Courts, in United States courts do not give same kind of protection to famous people, because the fact that they have that special position “automatically entails increased pressure on their privacy”. So it mostly feels like celebrities in U.S. just have to deal with it. However, Barnes argues that “declaring that the public has a right to know everything because of public desire to know is operating outside of its jurisdiction”. Author at the end of the chapter points out that everybody when acting outside of public or official duty is a private citizen and entitled to an equal measure of respect for that status. So obviously rich and famous are just being not given their right, especially in United States. In Chapter Two, Celebrities of the World Unauthorized, shows us the nature of media invasion. It is very obvious that...
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