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Harry snaps expose Leveson’s regulatory headache

24 August 2012

24 August 2012

Prince Harry’s naked outing on the front page of today’s Sun has already prompted  60 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission about a breach of the Prince’s privacy. It also illustrates the problem facing Lord Leveson as he prepares to make his recommendations on the future of press regulation.

The Sun’s editorial, which it published alongside the now infamous picture on its front page, argues that it was perfectly reasonable to defy the warnings from the Royal Family’s legal team not to print the snaps which have been circulated across the globe via the internet. The piece says:

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It is absurd that in the internet age newspapers like The Sun could be stopped from publishing stories and pictures already seen by millions on the free-for-all that is the web.

Regardless of whether it is in the public interest to publish these pictures of the third in line to the throne, the current system of regulation ignores the fact that suppressing publication in print does not stop millions of people seeing or reading the material in question. The internet is a wild frontier where anything goes, while the press (mostly) submit to a system designed for a pre-online era. The challenge for Leveson is to devise a framework that is sensitive to this, rather than pretending websites like TMZ, which first published the Harry pictures, do not exist.


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Show comments
  • willem kotzee

    leave Price Harry alone? why are u after his penis pictures???????

  • learntruthnow.com

    learntruthnow.com

  • rosie

    The press is dying. We all knew that before the expensive and irrelevant charade of Leveson. (Will we ever get an inquiry into how much money that smirking lawyer pocketed in managing to spin it out over so long?)
    State Subsidised Broadcasting is another matter.
    The BBC were telling the whole world, first on the world service and then on the home service, to look at these snaps, every hour, as their first item of news, for several days before the Sun printed them.

  • SimonToo

    The Sun seems to be propagating the old canard of confusing “of interest to members of the public” with “in the public interest”. In terms of the public interest, the publication of the photiographs was gratuitous.
    The real argument is why a paper such as the Sun should be prevented, or prevent itself, from prinitng photographs which are (it is said) freely available on the internet. If every reader of the Sun only has to type “harry naked” into a search engine, why should the Sun be reticent? I do not know whether the photos are freely available, I do not know that that search expression would find them and, were they so, I do not know what the answer to the question is, but that does seem to be the essential argument.

  • roger

    Just wait until his paternal grandfather is dead, then there really will be dirt flying around ! Great aunt Margaret was lucky there were no iphones in the Mustique period.
    Harry may be a commissioner of state but also a young soldier, their goings-on are often squalid.

  • Andy

    Of course The Sun, that fine defender of press freedom, were amongst the first to publish the Danish Cartoons depicting Mohammed, cartoons that were an integral part to understanding the story.

  • Anna

    I am rarely sufficiently exercised to post a comment anywhere, but I will post this in a few places:

    This stuff about Prince Harry is seriously boring. I’m close on
    sixty-six, almost extinct, but find it not the least bit shocking since
    he’s a young man enjoying his unencumbered youth, not married nor
    affianced. WHAT is the problem? Other than salacious voyeurism. Actually
    he looks pretty good sans clothes… maybe jealousy is a factor? For
    God’s sake, I’m a respectable married/now widowed matron who hasn’t
    stepped an inch out of line since I got that engagement/wedding ring, nor indeed has a riotous widowhood.
    But I recall my youthful strip poker days with a chuckle!

  • 2trueblue

    Prince Harry needs to pick his company more carefully, and grow up a bit.

  • 2trueblue

    He should be wise enough by now to not put himself in this sort of situation, he is not a teenager.

  • Magnolia

    It’s about time there’s some balance at The Sun. For years it’s thrust ample female chests at all the poor old dears that buy it for the low price and now at last we have a picture of a beautiful naked young man in the interests of equality. Why is male nakedness so generally unacceptable while women can be seen with most things hanging out all over the Daily Mail etc. Even the Guido Fawkes site, where I inadvertently stumbled upon these photos, usually features female ‘totty watch’ rather than lovely male ‘botty watch’! Most people, caught out like Harry, would be under the influence of alcohol and I can’t be the only parent who’s warned my kids that booze makes you make an idiot of yourself which you will later regret. The general public is forgiving and reasonable and it won’t care about what Harry’s done at all but whether any ‘nice’ women will give him a second glance in future is debatable. Perhaps someone should find a German princess for him to ‘do his duty’ with as soon as possible. I thought the internet was ‘for everyone’ and that includes horrid types who distribute these pics. The Sun and Harry aren’t the culprits here, it’s the woman who sold the pictures that deserves our moral opprobrium.

  • Olaf from Norway

    Prince Harry is a disgrace to his father, Captain James Hewitt.

    • tele_machus

      Careful.
      We still have the Tower

    • 2trueblue

      Take a look at his uncle, you nit wit. He is a Spencer through and through.

    • 2trueblue

      Meaning that he takes after the Spencer line, just in case you didn’t get it. His ruddy colouring is also so similar the Prince Charles. You have just never been lucky enough to get that close!

      • rosie

        Very shrewd eyes like the Queen’s, too. As well as her sense of mischief. And Queen Alexandra had red hair.

    • Austin Barry

      I thought that initially, but those close set, anteater eyes are pure Wales

  • Radford_NG

    24 Aug.c.2.00pm.BST…….It is a greater outrage that he was condemned by the press,carpeted by his senior officer, and ordered to go and be brain-washed because ,after leading his men under fire from the taliban, he was vidioed with his men refering to some-one as “our Pak# friend”.At the time virtualy no-one (apart from the usual socio-pathes) was even aware that the word Pak# had become ‘voboten’.

    • Airey Belvoir

      “leading his men under fire from the Taliban” — I don’t think so! He was in a well-defended base, working as an air controller, and with a personal protecrion team at all times.

    • tele_machus

      You see what kind of chap is third in line.
      The sun should mark this as the start of the debate as Queen Elizabeth reaches the twilight.

  • Axstane

    “It also illustrates the problem facing Lord Leveson” – indeed it does.

    I suppose that Leveson will now call Prince Harry and a dozen others to testify before him into the phone hacking scandal. Should not add more than a few months to the publication date of his report.

  • pauldanon

    At least some coverage of Leveson was a sort of timewarp, with paper-based media being treated as prime if not exclusive. It was a bit like a sixth-form media-studies class in the ’70s. Not that we had media-studies then, but used to do subjects like English which did touch on media.

  • Daniel Maris

    Seeing Harry’s a*se cheeks splashed all over the Sun is a small price to pay for press freedom.

    • rosie

      Why do the left always think press freedom can be measured by how much nudity is allowed? How about publishing politically incorrect thoughts for a change, and seeing how long they go unpunished?
      It was the same in Spain when the Franco regime eased up. All they wanted to do was print pictures of scantily clad girls.

  • In2minds

    Leveson laid bare!

  • Nicholas

    David Dinsmore’s shirt and tie are much more offensive than the nude images and should not have been shown. The shirt collar is especially alarming.

  • an ex-tory voter

    Prince Harry has been snapped while skinny dipping. “So what”. The fact that he is third in line to the throne should make no difference. He should not be criticised any more than any other young man in the same situation.

    As for his right to privacy. He gave that up when he removed his clothing in public.

    • Frank P

      Yep! Flashing your ‘privates’ negates the euphemism. I’m surprised they’re not already in the ‘For Sale’ column of the Windsor Gazette as a ‘used three piece suite – v.g.c, only 20 previous owners.’ But that might render him liable under the Trades’ Description Regulations. Whether ’20’ would be too many or too few is a closely guarded secret. Leave to boy alone! His upbringing had its traumas. He’s a brave soldier – and good on him.

    • http://twitter.com/amergin074 Arthur Seeley

      A few quick points here. Those who ‘ so what’ this idiotic behavior also condone vomiting bingers rolling in our city streets or bleeding copiously in over-crowded, under staffed A and E’s or plummeting to drunken death from the balconies hotels in Ibiza.
      The young man is a prince, certain responsibilities go with the privileges his status enjoys whether we agree with them or not. He should act with more discretion and gravitas.
      The Sun has no public interest at all it published because it is The Sun sinking lower than the gutter in which it normally roots and snouts. Let it disappear in the morass of decadence it has helped to create and fosters with a will.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Really Arthur Seeley, do you really think strip poker in a hotel bedroom is the same as vomiting in the street or plummeting to drunken death from the balcony of a hotel? And I am really tired of boring old farts going on about gravitas. Does’t think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale.

        Oh, and if you are NOT old I despair. More Prince Harrys (a fine looking man, isn’t he?) and less of the likes of you.

  • Tarka the Rotter

    And here we have the very cause celebre which will prompt government over-reaction and usher in internet sensorship…

    • hookslaw

      Pity the govt can’t introduce compulsory spelling tests

    • Nicholas

      Yes. The argument that you can’t regulate the press because the internet is unregulated is the narrow edge of the wedge for attempts to regulate the internet which have already started. As usual any regulation will best serve those with an agenda or an axe to grind.

  • Archimedes

    Isn’t this article an example of how to do this correctly. Is it in the public interest to know that Harry was pictured naked? Yes, kind of, seeing as though he is third in line to the throne, and that really we would expect better of him. Did you need to publish the pictures to run this story? No.

    • tele_machus

      So Harry is a chump
      To show how much of a chump we have to make him look ridiculous
      The Sun does just that
      Then we ask why this ridiculous chump is anything to do with potentially heading up our great nation
      Why we let him devalue the excellent Olympics by allowing the world wide media to juxtapose the closing ceremony with the boudoir orgy
      In short the issue is not the pictures but the question as to whether our flawed monarchy has run its course
      Good on the Sun

      • Archimedes

        You lefties are always attempting to devise new ways to overthrow any structure of authority, in the vacuous promise that it will somehow bring peace, prosperity and happiness to the people. Happily, the country is far too sensible to actually bother listening to your rampant revolutionary rubbish.

        • tele_machus

          OK Ask the Sun why it posted them
          And take no heed of cynical cries of circulation and profit
          This is perhaps Murdoch’s ultimate revenge
          First Australia……

          • Archimedes

            I don’t care why the Sun printed it – that’s their problem. If they think they can compete with the internet in a race to the bottom then they are idiots. People are not going to pay for trashy journalism in the future when they can get it free online, they will only pay for quality, so the Sun is digging it’s own grave.

          • Archimedes

            I don’t care why the Sun printed it – that’s their problem. If they think they can compete with the internet in a race to the bottom then they are idiots. People are not going to pay for trashy journalism in the future when they can get it free online, they will only pay for quality, so the Sun is digging it’s own grave.

          • Fergus Pickering

            The Sun posted them because it thought its readers would be interested. That is why any newspaper runs a story. And people are interested in the size of Harry’s penis just as they are interested in Julian Assange’s life as a serial rapist. These things are not really important but they are interesting. Murdoch continually gives his readership what they want. That is why he is such a successful newspaperman.

        • tele_machus

          OK Ask the Sun why it posted them
          And take no heed of cynical cries of circulation and profit
          This is perhaps Murdoch’s ultimate revenge
          First Australia……

      • Archimedes

        You lefties are always attempting to devise new ways to overthrow any structure of authority, in the vacuous promise that it will somehow bring peace, prosperity and happiness to the people. Happily, the country is far too sensible to actually bother listening to your rampant revolutionary rubbish.

      • Julian F

        I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing wholeheartedly with tele_machus. I would also add that I object to taxpayers’ money being spent by a minor Royal on such behaviour – “young lad” or not. I am given to wonder how the media would have reacted to a young MP behaving in the same way.

        • Publius

          Agreeing with that troll is a sure sign you’re having an off day.

          One of the virtues of independence, and an independent income, is not having to worry what gobby “taxpayers” think you should or should not do.

          I am reminded of the increasing busybodying of the NHS, which now supposes it has the right to instruct us how to live and withhold treatment if we don’t comply.

          • Julian F

            Independent income? Would that be from the Crown Estate, which effectively belongs to taxpayers?

            • Publius

              Julian, the point was a general one, not specific to the prince. But your reply does rather demonstrate what I mean. As for the Crown Estate, well the clue is in the name. But no doubt you are right that it now “effectively belongs to taxpayers” as you put it.

              • Julian F

                Fair enough, but there is a point about fungibility of Royal finances, regardless of the niceties of specific ownership of the Crown Estate. Taxpayers foot the bill for the protection officers sent on that holiday, for instance. Anyway, my main point concerns double-standards. If pictures of George Osborne or David Miliband behaving like that in their youths came to light, they would be fair game, and rightly so. It seems only fair that those who benefit from public financing – Royal or not – accept some prurience about their private behaviour or refuse any public funding.

                • Publius

                  Excuse me, but are you “Anna” or are you “Julian F”? There is some dissonance here.

          • http://www.facebook.com/david.sylvester.963 David Sylvester

            I agree that these busybodies should let this drop.
            It not as though any royal blood was involved !!

      • The Crunge

        A young man commits a serious error of judgement causing embarrasment to his family and the Nation. He will,no doubt, receive due censure both in public and private.The twisted logic by which this single, monumental error of judgement can be used to infer that our entire constitutional settlement, which has evolved over more than a thousand years, should be changed is truly astonishing.

      • Augustus

        “So Harry is a chump”
        He seems to have a sure grasp of his subject.

    • Austin Barry

      The comedian Michael McIntyre observed that he disliked playing billiards because it seemed as though he were masturbating a man stood behind him. A week ago that seemed a bizarre statement, not now. Thank you, Prince Harry.

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