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Two key areas of the Human Rights Act affect the media: The introduction of a right to privacy and a protection of the right to free expression.
Freedom of expression is one of the cornerstones of the European Convention and it expected to provide media organisations with a public interest defence similar to that already seen in other countries.
But in some instances, the courts will have to weigh up what may appear to be competing rights to private life.
Editors may have to think a lot more carefully about whether publishing a story about an individual really has a public interest defence. Will tabloid “kiss and tell” stories fit into the category?
Case law built around these two principles could lead to an end to calls for a specific privacy law aimed at curbing the media and, perhaps in years to come, lead to a rethink of the UK’s complicated defamation laws, say media ethics researchers Presswise.
Furthermore, the Act makes it harder for individuals or organisations to seek injunctions against the media to prevent publication of a controversial or sensitive story.
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