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Privacy Rights and Press Freedoms Essay

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Common privacy rights held by US citizens

In the US constitution, there is no explicit right to privacy, but the supreme court has ruled the option of limited constitutional right of privacy which is now contained on several provision in the bill of rights, this include; a right to privacy from any form of government surveillance, into an area where an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and in all matters that relates to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relations child bearing and education; even some states have explicitly incorporated privacy protections into their state constitutions.

But there is a sect oral approach to privacy regulation for the records held by third parties like the consumer marketing profiles or telephone calling records; they are protected unless a legislature has enacted a specific law. However, the court recognizes a right of anonymity and also the right of political groups of preventing the disclosure of the names of their members, to government agencies (Doran, 1999).

Ways citizens want the press to address their privacy.

The US citizens want their news papers delivered on the front porch, and not in the ‘bushes’.  There is a general understanding among ‘reasonable’ people of America who agree that certain aspects of life are ‘off-limits’ of the press coverage; that is to say a line should be drawn on certain things because there are certain thing which are open to the public while others are not.

However, most journalists respect this concept and strive to act reasonably while others neither have nor respect for privacy and they normally push the boundaries in the name of decency.  Some even want the journalists to keep out of their personal life if they can’t ‘keep-off the limits’ and take care of the world government (Sarah, 2000).

When do the media conflict with citizen privacy?

The citizens believe that an interest presents the basis for non-ethical and unacceptable conduct of state officials.  In press freedom, citizens believe that the conflict of private and public interests, the press gives priority to private over that of public interest, others conflicting interests between free press and citizens include making material profit, misuse and illegal accumulation of wealth, abuse of power and political profit, in addition to corruption and other several performing functions.

The conflicts citizens recognize are; when a state official accepts gifts and a person asks for something in return, when a minister is the owner of a private company related to his ministry field, and when a state official presents the position of a party at a press conference, in the case where he is invited as a state official (Sarah, 2000).

What is the freedom of Information Act, who does it benefit?

Freedom of information act, or FOLA, is essentially a way for the public in general to access all publicly available records.  It basically meant to benefit the public, but unfortunately, the media is actually misusing, as it is seen in revealing the names and addresses of legally licensed gun owners of their websites.  This actually means it is biased in offering its services and it does not therefore work for the public ‘good’ Doran, 1999).

Limitations of press information

The press freedom is enriched in the Basic Law and it includes the independence freedom of information right of expression and criticism, it therefore, means that publishers, editors, and journalists must while pursuing their work remain aware of their responsibility towards the public and their duty of upholding the prestige of the press.

They should therefore perform their task fairly, according to their best knowledge and belief, and they should not be influenced by personal interests and any motivations that have nothing to do with the matter at hand, in addition, they should work with framework of the constitution and its laws in order to maintain the standing of the press and enable them achieve integrity (Matthew, 2000).

How does a press freedom helps to ensure honest of the government

Press freedom checks and supports government businesses and procedures.  For example US media went to remarkable lengths in promoting corporate and government opinion during the liberating powers of trade during the coverage of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americans (FTAA) where tens of the thousands of people allied outside the summit in Quebec City.  In fact much of the “free press” has been selling the FTAA to the citizens of America as a cure-for all for poverty and oppression, they have been doing it through stacking the opinion pages and through selective and distorted news reporting.  Although, at times the free press is skewed towards government side for example that of favoring the FTAA and other areas of government functions and procedures (Doran, 1999).

How cameras do a rose controversy in Court rooms

There is a controversy with some opposing while others proposing for the main reasons of privacy; for example for some automatic response to proposals for camera on the streets is an opposition, because to them, this is an egregious invasion of privacy for example to have “Big Brother’ watch citizens as they go about their business, even if it is in public place; also a good number of people are skeptical, for example in the New York the observation  of the experiment became successfully more objective and comprehensive concerned about the effect of audio visual coverage on trial participants which has persisted and even increased.

There was even credible testimony that some witnesses had been deterred from testifying by the prospect of just being filmed in fact others has been negatively affected at trial. This therefore means that in New York, a State constitutional rule which expands the rights of the media to include the right to photograph and broadcast court proceedings would derail what is, and always has been, a legislative process (Matthew, 2000).


Doran, P. (1999).  In the journal ‘Revealing the True Nature of the Hate Crime                            Movement American Journal of Criminal Law 26,

Sarah V. (2000). In the journal ‘The Hate within Ourselves: Criminal law’s attempt to                overcome bias; Bias crimes under American law (1999), by Frederick Lawrence.                 Harvard Blackletter Journal 16:229.

Matthew, W. (2000). In the article “Innocence Lost: In the Wake of Green”: Catholic     University Law Review 49.

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