public interest

  

Definition

Welfare of the general public (in contrast to the selfish interest of a person, group, or firm) in which the whole society has a stake and which warrants recognition, promotion, and protection by the government and its agencies. Despite the vagueness of the term, public interest is claimed generally by governments in matters of state secrecy and confidentiality. It is approximated by comparing expected gains and potential costs or losses associated with a decision, policy, program, or project.

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