As a society we are obsessed with "celebrity". Paris Hilton, the Big Brother housemates and scarily Ryan Tubirdy.
But should there be privacy laws controlling newspapers and magazines in Ireland?
The newspaper industry is far from perfect. There are cases where it intrudes on privacy without any justification of public interest.
Individuals are entitled to privacy but not if that stops the press from exposing a crime, protecting the safety of the public or preventing us from being misguided by some important person or organisation.
A law of privacy could be a tool of censorship for the rich and powerful to stop the press exposing corruption, mismanagement and hypocrisy an infringement on the public's right to know. Considering the media attention surrounding Princess Diana even now, several years after her death, it's hard to believe that in Britain, before World War II, the press was not allowed to comment on the affair between Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson. In Europe, politicians abused public funds in support of their colourful private lives. In both cases the public was not told. For democracy to exist, this is very wrong.
A privacy law would only be available to those with the money to gag the press through the courts.
Yes the press can go too far sometimes. That is why the Press Complaints Commission exists, to control the press in such matters. Of all the complaints made to the Press Complaints Commission very few are about invasion of privacy. We don't need a privacy law; we need a fresh and free pass committed to the best news coverage. And maybe a little taste.
(God! Have just realised that this is all very serious for my first posting! Coming next time: the Muppets!)