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Papparizzi Rights Essay, Research Paper

Does the Paparazzi threaten First Amendment Rights and Privacy?

The question of paparazzi threatening privacy and First Amendment rights is often to situational to argue in a conventional manner, but certainly there are many facets of the issue which can be addressed in a quite straightforward manner. Celebrities who feel they have the right to privacy in public places often muddy the waters of this issue. Oddly enough, those celebrities who have chosen to speak out against what they feel are violations of their privacy most always begin their campaigns with a large press conference. In other words, they gather together those people they wish to not only suppress but also berate in hopes that these people will use their positions and skills to carry these celebrity’s messages to the public. Is often seems that theses celebrities want it “both ways” in that they appreciate coverage when they have a movie, record, or book coming out, but not at any other time.

The quandary is that some celebrities can’t understand that when one is out in plain view of the public, one cannot reasonably expect privacy. Privacy is a right reserved for when one is in private.

The rights of paparazzi journalists must be protected to prevent the slow erosion of the rights of all journalists. If we allow the paparazzi to be used as a scapegoat and to be persecuted and regulated it will not be long until the next most radical fringe group of journalists come under fire. This cycle will eventually lead to the censorship and suppression of all journalists.

Paparazzi photographers, just like any photojournalists, finding a fraction of a second which summates a whole news event and capturing it on film. Their print journalist counterparts, who are afforded not only the luxury of editing, but also a few column inches within which to develop their perception of the story fall into a different category all together. A photojournalist must ascertain the defining image of a news event as it is happening and capture it on film. If he or she is doing the job correctly, a reader can get a very good idea of what happened without even reading the accompanying article. There is no luxury of editing in photojournalism, the moment is either captured forever, or it isn’t. If a fantastic shot is missed, it is gone forever.

A good freelance photojournalist shoots what he or she knows. A good photojournalist also knows what will sell. Some photographs really aren’t worth taking from a newsworthiness standpoint, but if a publication is willing to pay enough for them, than they will be taken. Sadly money does rule the world, and until paparazzi photographers can feed their families without having to take these sorts of pictures, they will continue to be taken.

It is obvious that one of two things is happening. Either the paparazzi does not threaten privacy and First Amendment rights, or they do in such a way that the public does not care. The reason for this goes back to the rich publications that ultimately drive paparazzi photographers to take these pictures. These publications are supported by advertisers who evidently don’t mind being associated with a publication which uses paparazzi photographs, and readers who obviously are wiling to pay to see paparazzi photos. In this way both the corporate and private sectors show their approval for paparazzi work.

Photographs lacking malicious intent or not published with gross negligence are not conceivably in violation of the First Amendment if they were taken in what would be considered a public area. Violations of privacy are hard to argue also if the photograph was taken in a public area.

Ultimately we do need to protect the rights of the paparazzi as well as their subjects. We need to keep what is public and done in public, public and keep what is done in a private place private, but in those situations. We can not allow our sources of information and news to be restricted


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