Centre for Communication Governance at NLU delhi
The Defence of Public Interest

David E Morrison and Michael Svennevig, ‘ The Public Interest, the Media and Privacy‘ (March 2002)

This is a comprehensive report on the issue of privacy and includes views on the definition of privacy and public interest, the changes in light of the internet and the opinions of focus groups on the issue.

David E Morrison and Michael Svennevig, ‘The defence of public interest and the intrusion of privacy: Journalists and the public‘ (2007) 8 Journalism 44

The article examines the relationship between the public interest and the right to privacy, with the focus on journalistic practice and new values, and the general growth of social surveillance. The article then draws on a series of in-depth interviews with UK media regulators and media interest groups. These were in turn followed by a series of focus groups, leading to the development of a UK national sample survey. The research offers the basis for a more complex analysis of the factors involved in judging the relative rights of the media to intrude and individuals’ rights to be protected from intrusion. Central to this analysis is the development of a new concept – ‘social importance’. Unlike the established concept of ‘public interest’, social importance is readily operationisable, scalable in terms of intensity, in its potential applications.

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David Gorman, ‘Rights in Collision: The Individual Right of Privacy and the Public Right to Know‘ (1978) 39 Mont L Rev 249

This article is a dialectical exposition on the inherent tension between the individual right to privacy and the public right to know. Each right is analysed independently and then the article focuses on the judicial weighing of where the two rights collide.

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Eric Easton, ‘Public Importance: Balancing Proprietary Interests and the Right to Know‘ (2003) 21 Cardozo Arts & Ent L J 139.

This article endeavours to bring some coherence to First Amendment jurisprudence by identifying the source of ‘the right to know’ and surveying its contemporary application. The article argues that the First Amendment’s penumbral “right to know” is the source of a “public importance test” that the Supreme Court has reluctantly, but ineluctably, adopted to help mediate between the proprietary claims of private citizens and the reportorial imperatives of the press.

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