Celebrity injunction: Privacy is a human right

By Bradley Walker

An interest in the lives of others is natural, but is it imperative that we know all about the lives of these individuals? A recent injunction regarding the ‘threesome’ of an unnamed celebrity brings to attention an issue; should celebrities have the right to privacy? Or should their actions be public knowledge? If so, should we really care?

Many feel that injunctions are infringing on an integral human right: free speech, where an injunction is basically a gagging order, making an individual unable to bring the truth to light. This preventative action in essence silences an individual in order to protect another, but is this okay? I think it is, but only in some situations. Situations such as the ‘threesome’ are deeply personal, and the details of it do not need to headline tabloids. By telling the press these names and making the information public, this individual is not ‘righting wrongs’, but instead attempting to humiliate someone.

The most interesting part of this story may just be the coverage it’s had in the media; the press jumped on the chance to uncover the private affairs of a well-known celebrity, why? The simple answer is the popularity of human interest stories. The humiliation of successful individuals sells, and coverage of this story keeps people coming back in the hope that they would soon read the name behind this sordid tale. The coverage of this story isn’t for the sake of news, it’s more to give people what they want to read, people are always interested in celebrity news.

Do these human interest stories qualify as news though? People are certainly intrigued by these types of stories, however their impact on the world is negligible and it’s hardly ‘hard hitting journalism’. It’s undeniable that these stories have their place in the news, these insights into the lives of others are interesting to people and are news in their own right. Celebrities have a huge impact on popular culture and the media and are therefore worthy of being reported on and being the centre of scandals.

However, I don’t think that their actions need to be public knowledge, their privacy alongside free speech is also a human right. Regardless of their fame celebrities are still people, they should still be able to maintain at least some form of privacy. Their actions are not without scrutiny, but they should not be punished just because they are famous. People may be interested in their lives, but that doesn’t mean they need to know everything about them.