Wednesday 24 November, 6.00pm until 7.30pm, Landmark, Lower Level, Palladium High Street, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai, India
Venue: Landmark, Lower Level, Palladium High Street, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai, India
Celebrities are notorious for courting publicity one minute and protesting the next about the invasion of their privacy. Not only filmstars but sportsmen and indeed politicians often have an ambivalent relationship with the media. So do public figures forfeit any right to privacy, or should they be protected from the public gaze? Some argue that those who depends on media attention for their livelihoods must accept the consequences. If Bollywood stars want newspapers and TV stations to hype their latest movies, they should not be surprised when reporters are equally interested in their personal relationships, and any salacious details of their private lives. After all, when the public buys in to a celebrity’s personal brand, they want their money’s worth. But what about those celebrities’ families and other parties unwittingly caught in the flashlights? Shouldn’t their privacy and dignity be respected?
For some, it is a simple question of free speech. Either the media are free to report as they see fit, or they are subject to censorship. This principle has often been invoked by those opposing any proposed privacy law or broadcasting legislation that might undermine the editorial autonomy of media outlets. Others argue that media have undermined their own credibility by behaving irresponsibly, for example by conducting fake sting operations. Indeed, some critics see deeper problems with today’s ‘celebrity culture’, with its focus on superficial gossip and scandal. Don’t the media have a responsibility to inform the public as well as entertaining it? The question is especially pressing when it comes to politics, which some argue has come to resemble show business rather too closely. A figure like Rahul Gandhi attracts attention not so much for any particular political message or idea as for who he is, and perhaps his filmstar looks as well as his family heritage. Shouldn’t the media focus more on the substance of politics than on personalities?
Some believe that the very boundary between public and private is changing, and that ordinary citizens as well as celebrities are increasingly living their lives in public, sharing information and pictures of themselves of ‘social networking’ websites like Facebook. Is such information fair game for the media? How should the media balance the public interest with the privacy of individuals, whether they are in public life or not?
The discussion will be introduced by Angus Kennedy, head of external relations, Academy of Ideas
history and politics teacher, South London school
India editor, BBC News
associate fellow, Academy of Ideas; author, That Existential Leap: a crime story (forthcoming from Zero Books)
journalist; co-founder, Journalism Mentor
national cultural editor, Hindustan Times
Indian film, television and theatre actress; screenwriter; director; social activist
director and co-founder, manyriversfilm; director, Emmy-nominated Cult of the Suicide Bomber
director, Academy of Ideas; panellist, BBC Radio 4's Moral Maze; author, I Find That Offensive
Some secrets are best kept hidden. But, if they ever tumble out of the closet, it's important to deal with them. In the wake of Om Puri's wife's startling revelations, Kalpana Sharma explores forbidden realmsKalpana Sharma, Times of India, 7 October 2010
Even ordinary folk these days tend to deal with a break-up by venting on Twitter or starting a blog recounting their heartbreak in every excruciating detail. It matters little to them that they are not just invading their own privacy but also that of their partners.Seema Goswami, Hindustan Times, 11 September 2010
Right now, the Blackberry has come to represent my right to privacy and I am not going to give it up so easily. Nor should you.Pritish Nandy, Times of India, 8 August 2010
Whilst some argue that reporting on the private lives of public figures is the entitlement of a free press, others suggest that the media have overstepped the mark and need to be reined in.Helen Birtwistle, Debating Matters, 1 August 2008
The Mosley case shows we must defend free expression for everyone - even titillating tabloid newspapers.Tessa Mayes, spiked, 28 July 2008
The moot question is how far our media in general and the journalists who represent it in general should get involved and intrude in the personal affairs of the celebrities. The bubbling zest of paparazzi in Paris has already cost lives of Lady Diana in the Royal British family and also that of Dodi al Fayed, who was the only son of an Egyptian business tycoon.Ganesh Sovani, Ivarta, 30 January 2007
Celebrity marriages, lost dogs, drunken brawls. Trivial headline news and the sellout of mainstream journalism. In an unprecedented and outspoken interview, iconic actor Aamir Khan speaks out about the mediaShoma Chaudhury, Tehelka, 1 April 2006
What historically has been a cozy and symbiotic relationship is now in many cases turning sour, and celebrities are seething.Jake Tapper and Dan Morris, ABC News, 5 February 2005