A free press is the hallmark of a functioning and healthy democracy. However the freedom of the press should not be absolute. The nature of freedom of expression and an individual’s right to a private life means that these human rights will not always be absolute. To make sure that the right balance is struck we need to consider what is in the public interest. Only when something is in the public interest can we justify intrusion into someone’s private life.
Because of this I think that the attitude that by stopping the press from intruding into public figure’s private life is somehow dangerous as it hinders the freedom of the press which is vital for a healthy democracy is wrong. It is not in the public interest to find out which celebrities are having affairs or orgies. This information is in no way going to help the public to protect themselves from oppressive governance. Because of this it is important to remember the second right at play. This right is that everyone has a right to a private life. Since there is no public interest in these stories this right has to take precedence. Therefore I think that it is only right that the courts should be able to award celebrities super injunctions to prevent this unjustified intrusion into their private life.
So when looking at these issues it is important to remember that there are always two issues at play. Freedom of expression does not give the press the absolute right to intrude into people’s private lives. This kind of intrusion would amount to oppression the very same oppression which the freedom of expression hopes to protect against. Whilst freedom of expression is vital to a healthy democracy so is the right to a private life. Therefore we should think twice before justifying the exposure of every detail of someone’s private life to public scrutiny.