The ‘public interest’ issue is Mr. Murdoch’s fitness to run a British newspaper …

The Press Complaints Commission emailed me today because I had made a complaint about The Sun’s publication of the two Prince Harry images.

They asked for more information about why I had complained, stating that some of the complaints were about taste and decency, which is not in their remit.

They also claimed that, as the royal household had not complained, that it would have to be considered as a special case if they were to look at the issue solely on the basis of complaints from unconnected third parties.

Here is the focus of my complaint, why I feel that this should be treated as a special case:

Dear Sir,
My complaint has nothing to do with taste or decency. My complaint tries to separate the issues, namely ‘public interest’ and ‘invasion of privacy’.
The fact is that these photos appear to have been taken without Prince Harry’s consent, so someone seriously breached a confidence and invaded his privacy. Notwithstanding that, the culprit has then sold on the images to a website for publication. One might imagine that it was best left there, because those throughout the world that had any interest in the matter must have known what had happened and simply did not need to see the photos published by any British newspapers as it could not give any further understanding to the matter.
Despite the matter of the Prince’s privacy, the editor of the Sun and its owner, Rupert Murdoch, decided to purchase the images for £10,000 and publish them. Mr. Murdoch clearly learnt nothing from his recent embarrassment at the Leveson hearings. He approved the request by his newspaper’s editor to buy and publish images that had been taken in a gross breach of trust and an equally gross invasion of privacy. Surely this makes Mr. Murdoch and his newspapers complicit after the event in that invasion of privacy? The ‘public interest’ issue here is not in the necessity of seeing the images as The Sun maintains, but in why Mr. Murdoch feels justified in publishing images of a person who had not even permitted the photos to be taken in the first place?
Thus the ‘public interest’ issue is Mr. Murdoch’s fitness to run a British newspaper. I accept the limitation of criticism by the PCC but this matter needs to  be evaluated to see if due diligence, in terms of privacy issues, took place. Surely that is a matter for the PCC, for if it isn’t, I’d like to know what is!

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