Avoid Invasion of Privacy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Invasion of Privacy is one of the three different legal issues that journalists have to avoid doing on a daily basis. It is so important to avoid this issue that schools such as Simpson College demand that their Communication majors and minors take a Law and Ethics class that cover issues such as these.

The question is, How do we avoid issues in our journalism careers. Brian Steffen introduced the issues surrounding invasion of privacy to his Beginning of News Writing and Reporting students, and introduced the four ways to invade a person's privacy.

1. Intrusion
Even if you don't write a story about someone, gathering information about them unethically can get you sued. These are the common ways in which reporters gather information unethically: trespassing, secret surveillance, and misrepresentation (which is known as disguising yourself).

2. Public disclosure of private facts
Publishing private details of a person's life, such as their financial aid or sex life, could get you sued because it may cause emotional distress for the person it is about. Information that is private, intimate, or offensive to the person are all causes of emotional distress.

3. False light
These lawsuits are very familiar to a libel lawsuit. It can arise at anytime you run a story. If it displays a person in an inaccurate way you could be sued for invasion of privacy, because it could be offensive to the person the false information is about.

4. Appropriation
This is the case where a journalist uses someone's name, words, or photo in an unauthorized way to promote a product. This lawsuit is more common with advertising, but journalists still shouldn't use anyone to sell anything without their consent to avoid being sued.

These legal issues surrounding invasion of privacy are all very scary situations for journalists, but if you just look at the different types of guidelines above, and make sure to avoid them. If you do then you shouldn't be worried about getting sued for invading someone's privacy.

Photo credit: Klearchos Kapoutsis, Google


Post a Comment

  © Blogger template On The Road by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP