Media intrusions into privacy examined in new book

The legal profession is grappling with how to deal with phone-hacking, revenge porn, misuse of private information, internet trolling, bullying via social media and media intrusion, according to a new book.

Dr Nicole Moreham with her book

The legal profession is grappling with how to deal with phone-hacking, revenge porn, misuse of private information, internet trolling, bullying via social media and media intrusion, according to a new book.

Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law’s Dr Nicole Moreham examines this in a book launched in Wellington today, The Law of Privacy and The Media (3ed) (OUP, 838 pp), which she edited with Sir Mark Warby, specialist English media High Court judge.

Dr Moreham first studied this subject as a PhD student at Cambridge University in England and has since earned a reputation as one of the world’s leading scholars of privacy.

She says the new edition of the book responds to the continuing expansion of the law of privacy, including in the so-called ‘new media’.

“It is aimed at both practitioners and academics and responds in part to the enormous public interest in the media and privacy, particularly in high profile cases such as the phone hacking media scandal in the United Kingdom and anonymising injunctions for public figures wanting to keep information that might discredit them out of the public eye. This book is about the ongoing need to balance those individuals’ privacy interests with the competing right of the media to tell the public things that they have a legitimate public interest in knowing,” Dr Moreham says.

“But a book like this can’t be just about the mainstream media anymore. The ability of ordinary individuals to obtain and widely circulate private material is now part of our daily life. This democratisation of mass communication not only brings fresh challenges for the law, it has re-defined our understanding of the media.

“The book looks at the way that courts in England and elsewhere are grappling with these issues. Included in that is the burgeoning use of harassment legislation to protect against the disclosure of private material, particularly on the internet, and many practical ways to address internet trolling and to get material taken down from the web,” she says.

Such is the interest globally in privacy issues, Dr Lina Zhou, an Associate Professor at the Communication University of China in Beijing, is translating the book into Chinese.

The Law of Privacy and The Media book, published by Oxford University Press, is available via their website.