Brief Fact Summary. Cohn (Plaintiff) brought suit based on invasion of privacy against Cox Broadcasting Corp. (Defendant), when the name of his 17-year-old daughter, a rape victim who did not survive the attack, was published by one of its reporters.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The First Amendment protects a media defendant from attacks grounded in invasion of privacy, when their reporting is on an issue of public concern.
We are reluctant to embark on a course that would make public records generally available to the media but forbid their publication if offensive to the sensibilities of the supposed reasonable man.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether a criminal statute regarding the reporting of the identity of the victim of a crime precludes a media defendant from reporting on that issue when it of public concern?
* The Supreme Court held that the identity of the rape victim was obtained by proper means, and the commission of a crime and facts surrounding the prosecution of that crime are matters of public concern. As such, Defendant is protected by the First Amendment freedom of the press in its reporting of the matter.
Discussion. Invasion of privacy actions cannot be brought against a media defendant when they report on an issue of public concern, using information obtained by legal means.