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Privacy: Where Do You Get It?

June 30, 2011

Studying to be a journalist makes me wonder all the time, if what I will do next time invades other peoples’ privacy? Of course, as journalists, we are trained to write our news stories with truth and objectivity. But what if say for example a celebrity having an affair – it’s true, but it invades the personality’s privacy, yes? I mean; a celebrity is out to entertain us with his or her talents, be it singing or acting; so what does his or her personal life got to do with the public? Does it affect us as the audience or the quality of his or her work that’s presented to us?

The session was on Privacy. According to Merriam Webster, privacy is freedom from illegitimate intrusion. Much of the session is on privacy and celebrities. I on this side, would like to ask; what about politicians?

Take a look at Malaysia, it often seems like a politician’s sex life (apologies for the language) is everyone’s business. Really, is it necessary for the public to know? Take Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim or Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek as an example. If you asked me, as long as they do their jobs right, making sure that the public’s interest, the duties or ministry portfolio that he or she is in charge is taken care of, I really wouldn’t care what he or she does in bed. That’s my two-cents worth about the political journalism desk in Malaysia.

I guess as the presenting team’s final question to all present at the seminar remains; What private information should we make public – how do we distinguish among what the public:

  • has the right to know?
  • needs to know?
  • wants to know?

I think the right to know and the need to know is distinguished by the information that will affect the public such as national policies, the change in cabinet of ministers or if the prime minister is retiring and that sort. The “want to know”, would be those “juicy” stuff that makes news more interesting.

What do you think?

Till the next,



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One Comment
  1. For the record, I think the fact that one is a celebrity or at least just a known figure will definitely take a toll on his/her level of privacy. Whatever good that the celebrity does is publicized so of course, there are two sides to a coin so whatever bad stuffs that the celebrity do should also be publicized. I am not saying that they don’t deserve their privacy like a normal person do but they should know full well that having opted such career path, they will be the subject of anything and everything – it is part of the package.

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