A Landmark at a Turning Point: Campbell and the Use of Privacy Law to Constrain Media Power
Journal of Media Law (2015), Vol. 7, Issue 2
20 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2016
Date Written: October 1, 2015
This article argues that the decision in Campbell can be seen as a response to long-term concerns about the abuse of media power. After outlining some of the key developments in debates about privacy law, the article considers the features that distinguish the media as powerful institutions. It will be argued that the focus on media power has shaped the doctrine of misuse of private information, for example in expanding the scope of the tort and focusing on the public interest as the main defense. The decision in Campbell arrived at a moment when the communications environment was about to change dramatically. Since Campbell, the use of social media and the opportunities to share user-generated content has given many people the capacity to bring private facts to a large audience. The article will consider whether the Campbell tort remains applicable in the case of non-powerful publishers and looks at alternative ways to protect privacy.
Keywords: Privacy; media power; misuse of private information; media freedom; Campbell v MGN
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