Can a public figure have a private life?(No, there is a price to pay for fame! )

Each time the issue of public figures being entitled to privacy is discussed, I don’t know why it happens but it sparks off a heated argument. I think it’s because it’s hard to draw a line in terms of where the public figure’s private life begins because their private lives are a source of news.  In other words, it’s hard to understand what is private and what is not.
Doreen Umutesi
Doreen Umutesi

Each time the issue of public figures being entitled to privacy is discussed, I don’t know why it happens but it sparks off a heated argument. I think it’s because it’s hard to draw a line in terms of where the public figure’s private life begins because their private lives are a source of news.  In other words, it’s hard to understand what is private and what is not.

I don’t think revealing of public figures’ private life can be controlled because of the following reasons. The people who look up to them or those they lead have the right to know their private lives because it’s appealing. Everyone wants to know details about the lives of the famous and powerful, what they eat ad what they watch, what they do in their free time and where they go for holidays. This is why the private life of a public figure makes news.

What do public figures expect when they choose that path? When you become a public figure, there are some social benefits you gain and there are those you lose - and privacy is one of them.

Their life holds higher standards, making their personal behaviour more important to society than they expect. They have to maintain a certain moral conduct thus avoid tarnishing it for the press to use it with the aim of selling news. Apparently private details of a public figure sell newspapers.  To a greater extent it’s true. For instance, I would not hesitate to buy a newspaper with its front page story probably a politician caught in a hotel room by the wife with another woman. 

Although there have been arguments that the media should be prevented by law from meddling  into the private life of  a public figure, this makes it hard to  hold them  accountable especially in the moral conduct aspect if they argue that it’s their private life.

The Chapter 62: Privacy and Public Interest published on the thenewsmanual.net states that on issues of privacy and public interest, there is often no clear-cut distinction between right and wrong. The chapter gives journalists some general guidance and suggests a few rules in regards to privacy and public interest but it’s up to the journalist to decide what to do case-by-case.

Therefore with the fact that private lives of public figures make news, it will be hard for journalists not to invade their privacy.

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