A Freedom to Criticise? Evaluating the Public Interest in Celebrity Gossip after Mosley and Terry

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Abstract:

This article examines recent developments in case law concerning the privacy/free speech dichotomy from a free speech perspective, focusing particularly on the phenomena of 'celebrity gossip'. Since the key issue in resolving the privacy/free speech dichotomy is the public interest in publication this article examines the divergent judicial approaches to determining this point of which the decisions in Mosley and Terry are exemplars. It is argued that whereas the decision in Mosley reflects a sceptical approach to the free speech merits of celebrity gossip, recent judicial commentary including dicta in the Supreme Court decision in In Re Guardian News points toward a more generous approach of which the recent high court decision in Terry v Persons Unknown is particularly significant in providing a philosophical basis for that broader approach (on the basis of a 'right to criticise' immoral behaviour). The article moves on to consider the effect of the right to criticise in protecting a greater range of privacy-invading expression than the more established 'right not to be misled' before arguing that the general adoption of this broader approach would conflict with the 'mirror principle' elucidated in cases like Ullah, etc.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5235/175776310794389427

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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