Politics, Privacy and the Public Interest: A Case Study from Australia
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law
May 1, 2012
THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY IN THE LIGHT OF MEDIA CONVERGENCE: PERSPECTIVES FROM THREE CONTINENTS, D. Dorr and R. Weaver, eds., De Gruyter: Berlin, pp. 65-87, 2012
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 12/38
Australian law does not yet provide a general, enforceable right to privacy. One way in which a person who feels their privacy has been invaded by the media can obtain a remedy is to complain to one of the regulatory bodies which oversee the Australian media. This article analyses the important, recent decision by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (‘ACMA’). The decision arose out of a commercial television network’s decision essentially to ‘out’ a married State Government Minister. ACMA’s finding that the Minister’s privacy was invaded but that there was a countervailing interest which justified the broadcast was controversial. This article argues that ACMA’s decision provides insights into how privacy might come to be defined for legal purposes in Australian law; the recognition of a right to privacy in public places; the treatment of visual images as private information; the conceptualization of the public interest; the right of political figures to a private life; and media and community reactions to intrusive media behavior and the value of privacy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: public figures, politicians, public interest, Australia, media law, homosexuality
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Date posted: May 30, 2012
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