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Privacy and Media Freedom
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Privacy and Media Freedom

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Overview
Published June 2013 (OUP)
ISBN: 9780199668656. Hard Cover, 312 pages.
Description

Raymond Wacks

  • A clear, accessible introduction to the highly topical and controversial subject of privacy and freedom of expression
  • Gives a broad international picture of privacy threats and its protection, especially under the UK Human Rights Act 1998
  • Provides an historical, sociological, and legal account of privacy, and a theoretical analysis of freedom of expression
  • Includes a detailed, critical account of the law, the media self-regulatory system, remedies for breaches of privacy, and the relevant findings and recommendations of the 2012 Leveson Inquiry Report
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right at the heart of any democratic society. It is, however, inevitably restricted by other important values, including the right to privacy: the control individuals exercise over their sensitive personal information. The English law, since the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998, has undergone a tectonic shift in its recognition of this right protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which the Act assimilated into domestic law. The new civil wrong, 'misuse of private information,' now affords greater protection to an individual's 'private and family life, home and correspondence.'

The press is, of course, no longer the principal purveyor of news and information. The Internet offers abundant opportunities for the dissemination of news and opinions, including the publication of intimate, private facts. Social media, blogs, and other online sites are accessible to all. Indeed, the fragility of privacy online has led some to conclude that it is no longer capable of legal protection.

This book examines the right of privacy from a legal, philosophical, and social perspective, tracing its genesis in the United States, through the development of the law of confidence, and its recent recognition by the Human Rights Act. The English courts have boldly sought to offer refuge from an increasingly intrusive media. Recent years have witnessed a deluge of civil suits by celebrities seeking to salvage what remains of their privacy. An extensive body of case law has appeared in many common law jurisdictions over the last decade, which shows no sign of abating.

The Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices, and ethics of the press, sparked by the hacking of telephones by newspapers, revealed a greater degree of media intrusion than was previously evident. Its conclusions and recommendations, particularly regarding the regulation of the media, are examined, as well as the various remedies available to victims of intrusion and unsolicited publicity.

The law is locked in a struggle to reconcile privacy and free speech, in the face of relentless advances in technology. The manner in which courts in various jurisdictions have attempted to resolve this conflict is critically investigated, and the prospects for the protection of privacy are considered.


Readership: Students, academics, and general readers interested in human rights and privacy law, politics, philosophy, media studies, and sociology

1: The Pursuit of Privacy
2: Freedom to Express What?
3: The Genesis
4: The New Order
5: Striking a Balance
6: Media Misconduct
7: Remedies
8: Problems and Prospects

Raymond Wacks is Emeritus Professor of Law and Legal Theory. He has published numerous articles on various aspects of law and jurisprudence in leading scholarly journals and his books include Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory (3rd ed, 2012), Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction (2006), and Law: A Very Short Introduction (2008). Professor Wacks has been a leading authority on the legal protection of privacy for almost four decades. His major works in this field are The Protection of Privacy, the first book on the subject in England (1980); Personal Information: Privacy and the Law (1989); Privacy, a two-volume collection of essays (1993); Privacy and Press Freedom (1995) and Privacy: A Very Short Introduction (2010). Professor Wacks is a former chairman of the privacy committee of the Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong, and was a member of the statutory Personal Data (Privacy) Advisory Committee.

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