A comparative study of freedom of expression and right to privacy in relation to the press in Malaysia and the United Kingdom
The purpose of this study is to examine the protection of privacy in Malaysia against invasion by the press. The study argues that there ought to be a form of legal protection against invasion of privacy by the press. Protection of privacy should be viewed as complementary to a system protecting the exercise of free expression rather than opposing to such a system. The study establishes that the existence of institutional design within the constitutional framework creates a regimented restriction on freedom of expression vis-ä-vis freedom of the press. The orientation of the restrictions, which is based on expediency and necessity, gives prominence to relativism. Arguably, this would thwart potential development and the course of human rights in Malaysia. The study also examines the protection of privacy and freedom of expression in the United Kingdom. The development of privacy in the United Kingdom, which is moving towards accepting privacy as a right, could be used as a model in developing the law in Malaysia. Legal development on privacy is arguably tenable in Malaysia considering the fact that privacy-related interests are being protected under the common law principles as such in the United Kingdom. The study argues that the law should be in accordance with the local particularities on a contextual basis as against the transplantation of foreign principles. The study also argues that the approach of reflective equilibrium, whereby both universalism and relativism are taken into account, is appropriate in case of Malaysia considering the indigenous socio-political milieu. The study concludes that in the absence of legislative commitment, privacy could be better protected under institutional mechanism by way of co-regulation under the province of Media Council or the Human Rights Commission. In view of this matter, the study will scrutinise the effectiveness of the institutions in providing protection to privacy.