Strauss-Kahn case: 4 ways French and American law differ

Privacy laws

France also has very strong privacy laws, the New Yorker writes. According to the Civil Code as of 1970, “everyone has the right to respect for his or her private life.” The courts have defined private life broadly: A person’s love life, friendships, family circumstances, leisure activities, and health are among the many areas that are considered off limits to the media.

Writing about someone’s private life, or sexual activities, therefore, is literally against the law ... journalists, including foreign ones, are far more reticent about repeating really seamy rumors than they are elsewhere,” according to the New Yorker. That could partly explain why the sordid details of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s affair with a member of his house staff were all over American television this week, but Strauss-Kahn’s previous affairs generated comparatively little media attention and outrage in France.

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