Prince Harry naked photos prompt newspaper debate
Published: 23rd Aug 2012 02:53:38
The decision of British newspapers not to publish naked photos of Prince Harry shows the Leveson Inquiry has "neutered" them, it has been argued.
Former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis told the BBC that before the inquiry into media ethics he would have published the pictures.
But broadcaster Vanessa Feltz welcomed signs of a "moral awakening".
Pictures of the prince and a young woman naked in a Las Vegas hotel room appeared on US gossip website TMZ.
St James's Palace has confirmed the prince is in the photos but made no further comment about the images, thought to have been taken on Friday on a camera phone.
The pictures have been picked up by much of the US media but no British newspapers have published them, although they have appeared on a political blog in the UK.
There was a time when he was known as the partying prince, falling out of nightclubs in the early hours, getting himself into scrapes and generally showing a lack of good judgement.
In more recent times, Harry has transformed his image. His military service has played a big part in the change. He served in Afghanistan with his regiment, and said he was keen to return.
And time and again during his royal duties he's shown the caring instinct that his late mother demonstrated. Harry has become a huge asset to the Royal Family: committed, but with a sense of fun and mischief to which people have warmed.
So this latest episode will surely be both an embarrassment and a disappointment to his family and, most particularly one imagines, to Harry himself. His friends say he was just "letting his hair down", a young officer having a few days of relaxation before returning to military duties. But it can never be quite as straightforward as that when that "young officer" is third in line to the British throne.
Mr Wallis told BBC Two's Newsnight: "The situation is fun, it's a good, classic newspaper situation.
"The problem is in this post-Leveson era where newspapers are simply terrified of their own shadow, they daren't do things that most of the country, if they saw it in the newspaper, would think 'that's a bit of a laugh'.
"There would be no harm done and they would not think any worse of either the paper or of Prince Harry."
Mr Wallis said that to print the pictures would have been in the public interest.
The photos were taken when the 27-year-old prince was on a private break with friends over the weekend.
TMZ reported that Harry had been pictured in a group playing "strip billiards".
"He is third in line to the throne, he's been on the world stage for weeks and weeks, he is supposedly surrounded by police security officers," Mr Wallis said.
Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, who also appeared on the programme, said it was a "fantastic" story.
"Literally any journalist worth his salt, whether at one end of the market or the other, would have said: 'Thank-you God'.
"It doesn't affect Prince Harry at all. He is single and he is cavorting with ladies who wish to be cavorted with," Mr MacKenzie said.
"So where are the issues? There are no issues except one - Leveson."
The Leveson Inquiry into media ethics and practices was launched last year in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal centred on the News of the World.
Ms Feltz, an alleged victim of phone hacking, told Newsnight: "If there is some kind of moral awakening then it's about damn time because there are too many people whose lives have been played fast and loose with for nothing more than a bit of titillation over your Frosties."
She added: "What [Prince Harry] does in a private hotel room is what we expect him to be doing.
"He's a young fellow, he's not married, he's not on state business, he's not representing the Queen, and any editor who says it's of no interest to anyone is quite right."
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Prince Harry naked photos prompt newspaper debate. [Online] (Updated 23 Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1447727-Prince-Harry-naked-photos-prompt-newspaper-debate [Accessed 19th June 2013]
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