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Freedom of Speech$
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Eric Barendt

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199225811

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199225811.001.0001

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Libel and Invasion of Privacy

Libel and Invasion of Privacy

(p.198) VI Libel and Invasion of Privacy
Freedom of Speech


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how to reconcile freedom of speech with personal privacy, a matter of considerable controversy in all cultures where people are fascinated by the conduct of celebrities. The general arguments for bringing the publication of defamatory allegations, at least in some contexts, within the coverage of freedom of speech are discussed. Even if it is accepted that this step is right, it does not follow that free speech should always, or even generally, trump reputation rights. The legal principles for balancing the two rights or interests are considered; it will be seen that there are a variety of solutions, some of them more solicitous of free speech concerns than others. The legal problems posed by non-defamatory insults and political satire are also explored, along with the issue of whether the law should adopt similar rules to those appropriate for defamation or should give stronger protection to privacy rights.

Keywords:   libel, privacy, freedom of speech, defamation, reputation, insults, political satire, confidential information

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