At the beginning of the year, every kind of portal site was plastered with scandals of celebrities reported by Dispatch. Is the coverage of Dispatch right to know or invasion of privacy? ST discusses this issue. ........Ed
Controversy over revealing celebrity privacies has caused heated debates. In particular, there is a strong argument between “people’s right to know” and “invasion of privacy” in regard to reports on couples in the entertainment industry. The criteria for judging are ambiguous. The public is raising a question: Is there no legal action toward the press covering paparazzi photos? Upon meeting the New Year on January 1, the portal site’s real-time search keyword had been plastered with names of popular idols who are dating each other. The Internet entertainment media, Dispatch, has reported a love story like its annual event since 2013. The fact that the public is dissatisfied with the way the press reports can be seen from the Cheong Wa Dae national petition board. Many of the online petitions for the discontinuance of the Dispatch have been posted. There were also petitions in the past. Cheong Wa Dae responded that freedom of speech is an important value protected by law in a democratic society, and it is difficult for the government to take action on the right or wrong of press reports.
In the past, a court had ruled that a certain person’s information coverage is a violation of privacy because it is out of the public’s legitimate interests. On June 27, 2013, Shinsegae Group Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin and his wife Han Ji-hee filed a lawsuit against Dispatch and won accepting 15 million won. The court judged that the Dispatch violated the right to portray by describing in detail the two families in the privacy area and the date scene. What should be observed carefully in the above case is not a criminal suit, but a civil suit. Therefore, it is impossible for the government to shut down the press like the petition if it was not military regime. “People’s right to know” is not guaranteed by any law, but freedom of speech is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea. In many countries, freedom of speech is defined as the main value of the Constitution.
In conclusion, the actions of Dispatch are not illegal and they cannot be forcibly closed. Nevertheless, the public is raising their voices, saying that they do not want to know too much about the private lives of celebrities and the press has to ensure their privacy. There is a strong stand that before becoming a public figure, it is justifiable to look at a person. Choi Jin-bong, a professor of the Department of Newspaper Broadcasting at Sungkonghoe University, said, “Since entertainers are also individuals, if their private lives are violated, they will be inconvenienced by their daily lives, and their unwanted content will be disclosed to the public. It should be the standard of reporting that the public must be aware of.”
Lee Hae-been[News Editor]