Sunday, December 12, 2010

Today’s French Privacy in the Public Media

By Andrew Leeds

Over the past several decades, the French government’s role in censorship and media has steadily changed to form a system unlike any other. French laws protecting the privacy and reputations of individuals have gradually become most strict, making France one of the safest places for those who are often the target of vicious paparazzi and star stuck individuals. However, along with the evolution of this system of protection from the media has come a rise in the amount of media coverage regarding the private lives of many prominent individuals. In order to clearly see the unique nature of the French media laws, it is essential to compare them to those of another Western system within the region, such as the United Kingdom, and analyze the differences between two similar cases that have taken place in the separate law courts. Through this comparison, one can clearly see the extremely protective nature of the French media laws and how they make up one of the most strict privacy codes that exists in our world today.

Francois Baroin


Lisa Marie Presley

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While many politicians, celebrities, and other prominent individuals constantly try to use the press to boost their popularity, members of the media are constantly looking for stories that will interest consumers and “sell papers,” even if it concerns the private lives of others. As a result, several laws have been passed in numerous different countries all over the world to protect both the individual’s right to privacy and the media’s right to free speech. Often times, law courts try to find a middle ground between these two laws in order to protect the rights of both parties. However, the French laws regarding media and the privacy of the individual, specifically Article 9 of the French Civil Code, are much different than any other country’s. In France, the privacy of the individual almost always comes before another’s freedom of speech, in both law and public opinion. In contrast with many other countries, France has a history of keeping one’s private life out of the public sphere. Thus, a stricter law code has developed to protect the privacy of all and punish those who try to go against the age-old, societal values protecting the privacy of each citizen.

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