ERIC Number: ED226349
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: 0
The Press, Privacy, and Community Mores.
Glasser, Theodore L.
Because of judicial indifference and legislative inaction, the conflict between the right of privacy and the freedom of the press is no closer to a resolution than it was a century ago. William Prosser's reduction of the common law of privacy into four separate torts has not solved the problem. The concept of "newsworthiness" has not been helpful either because the judiciary has neither advanced nor adopted a unified theory of the news. Efforts to link privacy to community mores have been misdirected, stressing the community's right to shield itself from indecency instead of the individual's autonomy and dignity, and failing to discriminate between various types of privacy. Privacy should be treated as a value worthy of its own status, as a matter of human dignity and a requisite for a democratic society. Since prior restraint would be too destructive to freedom of the press, the goal of privacy law must be to prevent its further abuse. A four-part test can be used to balance the plaintiff's and defendant's responsibilities in a privacy action. The plaintiff must show that the disclosed facts are truly private and that their publication was sufficiently embarrassing to result in a loss of dignity; the defendant must explain why disclosure was "in the public interest" and thus privileged and why it was necessary to reveal the plaintiff's identity. (JL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (68th, Louisville, KY, November 4-7, 1982).