Celebrities

Celebrities

OP-ED

The Right to Privacy vs Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press

The rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press were never intended to allow the invasion of the right to privacy currently being practiced by the paparazzi and the tabloids. Average Citizens thrust into the spotlight, elected officials, celebrities and their children today are constantly harassed by risk-taking money grubbing paparazzi madly pursuing a paycheck from some nasty, tasteless, immoral tabloid pretending to be engaged in journalism. The justification for invasion of privacy holds only if it provides society with information important to our security or well being, like recording the commission of a crime, or keeping some power in check. What a celebrity wears to the beach or how they walk, or private moments with their children is immaterial to our society or security. The Valentine Constitution therefore prohibits the harassment of celebrities and their children by money grubbing paparazzi who are not practicing journalism, not keeping powerful forces in check, and not informing our Citizens of any facts significant to protecting our safety or our democracy, but rather are endangering the public safety, creating a public nuisance, and traumatizing any children involved. The press will be required to be responsible and mindful of others’ privacy just like everybody else, especially when true journalists are an extinct species in dire need of restocking.

When one right may be upheld without limiting the capacity of some other right, then the right should be upheld since the capacity of the second right to do its intended job in our democracy remains undiminished, and both rights remain unscathed. In the case of the paparazzi no balancing is even required since free speech protects only what society should be privy to in order to provide a check and balance on the abuse of power. Allowing Citizens to go about their private lives undiscovered does no rights any harm, nor any person any harm, while a reckless paparazzi are a proven menace to our society.

Under our Madison’s Constitution we lose economically by discouraging those aspiring to contribute to five of our primary exports from becoming movie, TV, music, sports or writing talent, by requiring they give up their right to privacy in order to do so. We likewise lose governmentally by discouraging those aspiring to public office by requiring they give up their right to privacy in matters unrelated to their governmental position. If we continue to allow the paparazzi and the tabloids to invade the private lives of famous people, the pool of talent in entertainment, sports, publishing and government will diminish, and we will have fewer competitive exports. Under The Valentine Constitution we will instead encourage private, gifted, talented people to enter public office and industries which produce export product and increase our balance of payments.

Publishing falsehoods, rumors, and false information is also allowed under The Madison Constitution unless the victim can prove that the reported falsehood is false and/or malice or harm was intended. It is an undue and ludicrous burden on any Citizen to somehow ascertain the intentions of the publisher, or to prove that false information is false! How can something which does not exist be proven not to exist? Is the victim to be made to get a pregnancy test every time some creep claims she is pregnant? Furthermore, she has every right to keep that state private, regardless of its truth. The Valentine Constitution instead first protects all Citizens from invasions of privacy of this kind, and second puts the burden of proving any challenged information to be true on those disseminating the information. Any journalist will have their source readily available for scrutiny. The Valentine Constitution holds privacy to be superior to freedom of speech and of the press in these situations and allows maligned persons to collect civil damages for invasions of privacy and for reputational or other harm caused by falsehoods regardless of any “fault-based standard of care”. If a party is harmed, who cares what was going on in the mind of the greedy tabloid, or reckless paparazzi or rumor mongering or hate crime spewing creep doing the harm? The press, not the victims, will have to prove BOTH to succeed in invading privacy: that the information or photograph is true (and unadulterated) and that it is also vital to society’s welfare. Otherwise they will be both criminally and civilly liable.