A former editor’s view on the naked Royal

22 August 2012. Published by Keith Mathieson, Partner

There’s an interesting view on the naked pictures of Prince Harry from a former tabloid editor.

In a blog on the Huffington Post site, Neil Wallis, described as “media commentator, former tabloid editor and currently under arrest as part of Operation Weeting”, says he would publish them:

He is third in line to throne, he has been a very major part of the monarchy’s presence at the Olympics, romping with a gang of girls he almost certainly doesn’t know from Adam, in pretty dubious circumstances … And anyway, it’s fun!

Mr Wallis suggests that UK editors will not publish because if they did, they would incur the wrath of Lord Justice Leveson.  A more likely reason, perhaps, is clause 3 of the Editors’ Code of Practice: “Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual’s private life without consent”.  The fact that the pictures are circulating on a few US celebrity sites doesn’t really change matters.  Clause 3 says editors can take account of the individual’s own public disclosures of information.  It does not say they can take account of unauthorised disclosures by other media, but there may come a point when pictures have become so public it would make no sense to consider them any longer private.