|Title||Balancing freedom of the press and the right to privacy: Lessons for China|
The conflict inherent in balancing freedom of the press and the right to privacy invariably presents some controversial legal issues. In addressing the legal dilemmas posed by these competing interests, an in-depth analysis of the conceptual value of these two equally important rights becomes a preliminary starting point. Through its exploration of the history and development of the press and privacy laws in both the United States and Canada, this thesis examines the fundamental values enshrined in these two rights. The author holds that the freedom of the press contains no privilege under the law, but that it serves as the means to promote the public’s right to know in a democratic society, while the right to privacy offers an individual the autonomy to regulate his private affairs. By analyzing arguments of “pubic interest,” “public figure,” and “public privacy,” the author compares the theoretical approaches to and practical attempts at striking a balance between the interests of the press and the privacy of the individual in the United States and Canada. Finally, the essay proposes how these experiences may contribute to the construction of relevant Chinese laws.
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