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Privacy and the global media in the information age

Volume 13, Issue 1

March, 2007

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Akel, W. (2007). Privacy and the global media in the information age. Pacific Journalism Review, 13(1): 40-57.
Author(s): William Akel
Publication date: 
April, 2007


The protection of privacy is being increasingly recognised worldwide by the courts, and media regulators, as a result of what is seen as a more powerful and intrusive media, and the effect of the internet. A right to privacy may even apply in a public place. This article examines the impact this has on the media in the information age? New Zealand now has a tort of interference with privacy. The criminal courts are also considering privacy values in issues ranging from suppression orders to release of court information to the public. The Broadcasting Standards Authority has revised its privacy principles. Codes of conduct with regard to the print media also acknowledge privacy. But the protection of privacy has its genesis in the 1890s and not in the digital age. A seminal article by Warren and Brandeis, ‘The Right to Privacy’ (1890), was a reaction to what was at that time seen as an over-powerful media. United States jurisprudence evolved to the Prosser and Keeton formulation in the 1960s. New Zealand jurisprudence has relied on this formulation to advance privacy rights. The English courts have taken a similar approach in the much publicised Douglas v Hello! and Naomi Campbell cases. The European courts, as a reaction to an overactive paparazzi, have pushed the bounds of privacy in the Peck and Princess Caroline cases. The High Court of Australia considered privacy in Lenah Game Meats Pty Ltd.  Finally, the International Covenants and protection of privacy.