Gemma Horton

Politicians’ private lives and scandals: how the law and journalistic cultures offer protection of politicians’ private lives during scandals

Gemma Horton addresses legal questions of media coverage in scandalization processes. Horton evaluates privacy rules in France and the USA in a comparative study by examining the most prominent political scandals in both countries. The paper is also a study on media ethics, which are often based on legal restrictions. Her results show that French law has historically protected politicians’ private sphere, while in the US privacy rules have been rather weak until today. Horton argues that these legal differences are changing in the French context right now due to cultural transformations of public conceptions of politics, which she demonstrates with an analysis of the scandalizing media reporting on the private sphere of French presidents Sarkozy, Hollande and Macron.

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