Some nonetheless defended The Sun’s right to do so, while others insisted there was no justification for printing them.
DAMASCUS: Britain’s press thrashed out Saturday whether The Sun newspaper had done the right thing by eventually publishing pictures of a naked Prince Harry cavorting with similarly-clad women in Las Vegas.
Rupert Murdoch’s flagship British tabloid broke ranks with other UK papers Friday in printing the two images, saying it was striking a blow for press freedom.
Britain’s top-selling newspaper said it was ludicrous that they should not be seen on UK news stands when millions had already seen them online and in foreign publications, including just across the border in the Irish Republic.
No other British newspapers have run the pictures of the 27-year-old army helicopter pilot, who is third in line to the throne.Some nonetheless defended The Sun’s right to do so, while others insisted there was nomjustification for printing them.
Industry figures say the wider British media did not run them due to fears that the phone-hacking scandal at Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World will spark tougher regulation of the press.
The scandal, which saw Murdoch close the 168-year-old tabloid in July last year, sparked an inquiry led by judge Brian Leveson, who is due to make recommendations on the future of press regulation by the end of the year.
The Guardian said the only reasonable publication test was not entertainment or sales but an agreed concept of the public interest.
“The argument that the material is already in the public domain is a strong one — but also dangerous. Taken to its logical extremes, it means Britain abandons any kind of ethical, regulatory or legal framework,” it said. “The stage is thus set for a balancing of two human rights — freedom of expression versus privacy. On the facts of this particular case it is a fine balance.”