The Role Of French Defamation And Privacy Laws In Keeping DSK's 'Secrets'

from the did-this-really-help? dept

Over the weekend, one of the big news stories was the arrest of the head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, often referred to by his initials "DSK," for allegedly sexually assaulting a maid at his hotel in New York. There are all sorts of reporting going on about this situation, and about DSK himself, with many of the reports noting both his penchant for fine living and claims that he was known around France for "womanizing," suggesting a potential history of such events. However, some are complaining that the press always hid such things, allowing DSK to continue on where perhaps he should have been stopped a while back.

However, Adam Gropnik does a nice job pointing out how French defamation and privacy laws are to blame for keeping news reporters from really discussing DSK's questionable activities in the past. In fact, a few years back, DSK made it clear that he would sue anyone who spread "rumors" about his personal life. In conjunction with stories of super injunctions in the UK and Max Mosley's now failed attempt to expand privacy laws in Europe to protect famous people from having their private lives displayed in the newspapers, it begins to raise some serious questions.

Lots of people sympathize with the basic argument that your private life is private, and it seems unfair to have private affairs spread across the news. And yet, if someone really is doing something egregious -- or potentially harmful -- is seeking to gag the press and others from making that information public only giving them cover to progress further and commit potentially heinous acts?

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  1. icon
    Ikarushka (profile), 18 May 2011 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re:

    Reading Merriam-Webster:

    1 : the act of punishing
    2 a : suffering, pain, or loss that serves as retribution
    b : a penalty inflicted on an offender through judicial procedure
    3 : severe, rough, or disastrous treatment

    In my opinion exposing minor vices in a puritan society well covered by #3. Disastrous treatment. Ruined carriers, families and friendships are not disasters. Are they?

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