Are Politicians Entitled to a Private Life?
We love talking about politics and politicians. Our culture as a nation very much revolves around our political discussions and affiliations. We are fascinated with the latest scandals and will spend weeks, if not months, discussing the same political event and our thoughts, to consistently reinforce our opinion.
The private lives of politicians are also the targets of such discussions. You will find a mix of diverse opinions in this regard. Some will say that politicians are entitled to their personal and private lives and the media should be able to draw the line. Others will argue against this approach stating that personal activities of politicians are within the public interest.
We write this article in the wake of a recent video which has been shared on social media and captured media headlines. A video of Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle partying and yelling at the top of their voice “Ma taghmlu xejn…” at the Girgenti Palace. Comments on social media have been mixed and diverse, some stating that our Prime Minister is only human and deserves to celebrate the country’s success. Others took less kindly to such behaviour and stated that someone who occupies such a prominent societal position, should not be associated with actions normally found at a village festa. In fact, MEP and former Alternattiva Demokratika candidate Arnold Cassola is enquiring for a formal investigation into unethical behaviour.
The argument which underpins all this is whether people have a right to know since this is not a case where a politician is involved in his professional remit. Should people know about the hobbies and activities of politicians, even if it does not affect their political undertaking? Where should one draw the line?
The issue of politicians’ private lives was also a topic of discussion a few weeks ago, when the alleged separation proceedings between the Leader of Opposition and his wife took place. This was then escalated to accusations and claims of domestic violence where many stated that it is simply unacceptable that the Leader of Opposition’s personal life details were being divulged to the entire media. Others on the other hand, were of the opinion that the personal happenings of the Leader of the Opposition were of public interest.
What is your view on the activities of politicians? Should these be exposed to the general public? If so, to which extent?