Press intrusion is an issue which has many stances, often depending on whether you are a member of the press or have been on the receiving end of such intrusion. Members of the press will usually argue that there is a public interest need behind anything which looks too intrusive. However, many people will suggest that press intrusion can never be justified as in the public interest.
PaparazziThe first thing which springs to most people’s minds when they think of press intrusion is paparazzi photographers. These are the photographers who do not usually work for a media outlet but spend their days trying to get pictures of celebrities.
The more in depth and candid the pictures the better as far as they are concerned. This is because these pictures sell more newspapers or magazines and so can sell for more money. Celebrities reportedly have varying levels of tolerance with the paparazzi, from none to lots.
Some celebrities say that the photographers have no right to intrude on their lives, especially if they are ‘off duty’ so to speak. But many people will argue that the celebrities are putting themselves in the public domain when they choose to become famous and therefore must take the public interest which comes with it. In addition, many of these celebrities use the media if they have something to plug, so their critics argue that they should take the rough with the smooth.
Non-celebritiesBut there are also non-celebrities who can be propelled into the public interest for one reason or another. These people then can find themselves on the receiving end of press intrusion. If they are at the centre of a big news story, good or bad, they may find that the press start to doorstep them to get as many details and pictures as possible.
The problem is that these people may not like the spotlight. And while a certain amount of public interest is generated by big events, whether press intrusion into people’s lives can be justified is debatable.
Press Complaints CommissionThe Press Complaints Commission does exist to protect people against press intrusion. It is a self-regulatory affair with no real powers but usually works fairly well. However, it also has the proviso of public interest which again leads back the question of what makes public interest?
However, one area where is it strict is with regards to children. So minors are well protected under the code, which also says harassment is banned. However, whether people who do not want attention would take a complaint to the PCC only to have the result published, is another matter altogether.
One big question hanging over the topic of press intrusion is whether the press intrusion actually generates the public interest. It would certainly seem that in today’s media savvy worlds, the more we see and know about someone’s life, the more we want to know. This has been shown recently with Britney Spears.
This means that there is more demand than ever for stories based on press intrusion. In the information hungry times of the 21st century, it seems like press intrusion is here to stay – and it is the public who has created the market for it.