Who would give up the chance to see a member of the royal family naked? Actually scratch that rather disturbing thought, they can keep their crown jewels covered. But when it comes to the scandalous pictures of Prince Harry’s Vegas escapades the debate over whether the images should be published is fierce.
Essentially it is a debate about the freedom of the press, one that continues in the aftermath of the Leveson Inquiry and no doubt will wreak havoc in years to come.
Should the naked pictures of Harry be printed in the UK press?
The Sun certainly thinks so as they published the images despite aides of Prince Charles threatening legal action if any UK news company prints the photos. But this is no more than the royal establishment being bullies. Maybe the roles have reversed; maybe the newspapers are no longer the bad guys.
The British press has every right to print the Harry images, after all, the photographs first published by TMZ are plastered all over the internet and I’m sure the world has seen them by now. But just because the third in line to the throne is a royal, the legal threat is damning, especially after the fragility in the journalism industry after Leveson.
But The Sun’s bold step is necessary for two reasons. Firstly, it shows that newspapers still have the freedom to print what they want within legal framework (a point I cannot stress enough). Secondly, as much as we hate to admit it, stories like Harry’s Vegas scandal are the lifeblood of the British media. If our newspapers are to survive, images like this need to be published to boost sales.
I am not for one minute suggesting that newspapers have in anyway a superior moral ground or are being victimised in this case. The cases in the Leveson Inquiry were unacceptable and rightly should be punished. In no way is this article a defence of phone hacking or any other criminal acts to obtain information.
However, this case with Harry is not a question of privacy. Being a prince he is aware that the spotlight is on him. He can hardly be surprised that a member of the group of strangers he was partying with took a picture of him on a cameraphone. If you were bumping fists (or other body parts) with the prince, wouldn’t you take a quick snap?
So these images are no illegally obtained. Nobody hacked computers or phones to get them. Let’s be honest, Harry is no newbie when it comes to controversy. Just think back to his ill chosen Nazi costume.
Ultimately Harry is a member of the royal family and this scandal is unlikely to affect him in a significant way. If anything, he may become more popular with the British public who can identify with his “Brits abroad” style. Naturally, he may get a stern word or two from Her Majesty, but other than that this will just be another antic to add to his already extensive list.
Do you think it is right that British newspapers have been threatened with legal action over the Harry images? What are your views on the issue? Let us know your thoughts.