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Privacy of public figures in the media; what are your thoughts?

Matt N

CF Legend
Hi guys. If you’ve been keeping an eye on the news recently, you might know that earlier this week, UK Education Secretary Gillian Keegan made the airwaves after being caught making a sweary outburst after an ITV News interview with her regarding the RAAC crisis in UK schools had concluded.

If you don’t know what I’m on about; after the interview had ended, ITV News seemingly kept rolling and caught Ms Keegan saying the following:
Does anyone ever say “You know what, you’ve done a f***ing good job because everyone else has sat on their a*se and done nothing”? No signs of that, no?
Or better yet, here’s the clip itself:

This clip has generated a lot of controversy, but there has also been argument that it should not have been aired by ITV News; indeed, complaints about the airing of the clip even made BBC Newswatch yesterday morning. With this in mind, I’d argue that this opens up a wider debate about the privacy of people in the public eye, so I’d be interested to know; how much privacy do you feel public figures should be afforded? In this particular instance, do you think ITV News should have shown this clip of Ms Keegan?

Personally, I think public figures are fully entitled to a private life and their own private opinions and such. In the instance of the clip of Gillian Keegan, I do not think that ITV News should have aired that clip. As far as Ms Keegan was concerned, the interview was over, and I think she should be entitled to express her own opinions and grievances privately and off-camera. The news outlets are arguing that showing this clip was “in the public interest”, but I personally disagree; I think that this was a private vent from Ms Keegan that she intended to be private, and I don’t think it should have been shown. It’s not as though she said it during the interview itself or anything.

In terms of the wider issue; I do think that public figures should be given at least a broad degree of privacy, and I’m not personally a fan of some of the journalism that often surrounds celebrities and other public figures. I think instances where a celebrity is going to a big event or doing something where they know and expect to be in the public eye is fair game to write about, but I’ve noticed that some media outlets often have a tendency to take pictures of celebrities undergoing their private lives in moments that were not necessarily intended to be made public, and I’m not sure how I feel about that, personally. I think you should be entitled to a private life regardless of how famous you may be, personally.

But I’d be keen to know; what are your thoughts on the topic of privacy for public figures? How much privacy do you think public figures should be afforded?


Roller Poster
Politicians are so duplicitous, I think it's in the public interest to know everything about them. We want to know what they really think, not their act.

The last few years have confirmed that the world of politics is just theatre. So is the media, but there are a few good eggs. Partygate has proven without a doubt that they tell us one thing whilst believing another. In this case, it reveals the entitled attitude of "You should be grateful". If Gillian Keegan was not willing to say this on camera, she shouldn't have said it at all. Interviews are worthless if it's all an act.

Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, it really is shocking how much the press and media have been cowed and curtailed. It's had a massive detrimental effect on our culture. Celebrities and politicians used to be terrified of papers like The News of the World. Nowadays, especially after Ofcom has been established, they can hardly say anything. Absolute freedom of speech and press freedom are essential. Without them, it's a very fast route to tyranny.