Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

850 complaints over Harry photos

The Sun was the first British newspaper to publish photos of Prince Harry naked

More than 850 complaints have been made to the press watchdog about naked photographs of Prince Harry that were published in the Sun.

The tabloid became the first British newspaper to carry the pictures, arguing the move was in the public interest and a "crucial" test of the country's free press.

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) said all the complaints it has received came from members of the public and none had come from St James's Palace or any other representatives of the royal. Nearly all of the complaints are about invasion of privacy and are to be investigated in due course.

The Palace said it had no further comment on the matter after previously saying that it was down to the editors of Britain's newspapers to decide whether they printed the controversial pictures.

The Palace said Harry, 27, an Army officer and Apache helicopter pilot, remains on a period of leave and will return to his military duties shortly. He does not have any public engagements within the coming days.

The pictures of him frolicking in the nude with an unnamed woman while on holiday in Las Vegas made headlines around the world but until now no papers in the UK had used them following a request from St James's Palace, made via the PCC, to respect Harry's privacy. But The Sun said it printed them so the millions of people who get their news in print or have no internet access could "take a full part in that national conversation".

One of the two naked images of the royal is splashed across the front page of the tabloid, just a day after the publication got a member of staff to pose for its front page in a mock up. In the picture, the royal can be seen wearing just a necklace and a wristband with his hands around his genitals as a seemingly topless woman stands close behind him.

Sun managing editor David Dinsmore said the paper had "thought long and hard" about whether to use the pictures and said it was an issue of freedom of the press rather than because it was moralising about Harry's actions. He told the BBC's Radio 5 Live that The Sun did generally "fear" the PCC, but a decision had been made to publish the photos because of the public interest.

A spokeswoman for News International declined to comment on whether Rupert Murdoch had been consulted over whether to publish the photo in The Sun, saying it had been a decision for the paper's editor.

Despite The Sun's stance on the issue, the majority of UK publications are still refraining from printing the images. Its main rival the Daily Mirror said it took the decision not to publish the pictures as doing so would be "in clear breach" of the PCC's Editors' Code of Practice, regarding intrusion of privacy, while The Independent also said there was an issue of privacy relating to the images.

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