Feature

Schwarzenegger’s paparazzi hit

Does a California crackdown on paparazzi photos help celebrities more than it crimps press freedoms?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is “taking a group of bullies by the horns,” said Elizabeth Bennett in Blogger News Network. The California governor signed a law that further cracks down on paparazzi by letting celebrities sue media outlets that publish photos and videos obtained by offensive means, not just the “stalkers” that take the photos. All of us, even celebrities, are “entitled to live our lives without the fear of being harassed, stalked, or invaded on daily basis.”

Schwarzenegger should know, said CNN.com. In 1998, he had his car “swarmed by paparazzi while he was picking up his child from school.” More recently, Jennifer Aniston won $550,000 and an apology for illicitly shot topless photos, and car-chasing paparazzi sometimes cause traffic accidents. But despite the paparazzi's “bad rap for their methods,” celebrities often play along—or even earn big bucks for selling their own private-moment photos.

This anti-paparazzi law “might not strike most of us as an extreme measure,” said Jessica Goldberg in The Frisky, but do we really want to put a “daunting” burden on our “media outlets whose bread and butter is broadcasting private moments celebrities try to indulge in”? Of course, the “Governator” could also be “underestimating the brawn of legal departments at tabloids.”

He is—and nobody will ever bring a successful lawsuit under this law, said Amanda Becker in the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. It’s still a troublesome law, though, as even dead-end lawsuits could “have a chilling effect on news gathering,” even the legitimate kind.

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