Politics, Privacy and the Public Interest: A Case Study from Australia

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

18 Pages Posted: 30 May 2012  

David Rolph

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: May 1, 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: public figures, politicians, public interest, Australia, media law, homosexuality

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Rolph, David, Politics, Privacy and the Public Interest: A Case Study from Australia (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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2070443

David Rolph (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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