Privacy Rights and Press Freedoms

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Privacy Rights and Press Freedoms
By
Valerie Jacks
Axia College of University of Phoenix


As citizens of the United States, we expect what we do behind closed doors to remain private, whether or not the act is illegal. We expect our telephone conversations to be private, not to be recorded by the government. We hope that our dirty little secrets, like drug addictions or prison time, not to be public information. The more famous or infamous a person is, the more all of these expectations of privacy are breached. The press seems to love making public all information regarding a celebrity or criminal. They see it as a public necessity or entertainment. Criminals facing a court trial face scrutiny from the press. The press will expose every element of the criminal’s life, all aspects of the crime committed, and where possible, they will broadcast the trial on television. Televising the trials is a matter of controversy that still is in debate today. Since 1946, when the electronic coverage of federal criminal trials was outlawed, until today, cameras are allowed in certain trials, but not others. As of July 2001, all 50 states now allow some type of camera access to their courtrooms. Federal trials still are a no camera zone. There is much debate about cameras in the court room. Opponents of televised trials believe that cameras could change how participants in the trial act. They also believe that cameras may intimidate some witnesses, through either fear of reprisal or their own secrets revealed to the public. Opponents also fear that judges will make rulings based on public opinion not the law. They fear judges will cave to public opinion, letting a popular criminal off or laying down to harsh a sentence when the trial is televised. Opponents also feel that with media coverage of crime, it is harder to find an unbiased jury. With the coverage of all the pre trial goings on, the case is presented in the media prior to the trial making it difficult to...
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