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Friday, August 24, 2012 

Yes, they were so in terror of Leveson, weren't they?

Ah yes, so it was fear of Leveson stopping the papers from publishing the pictures of Harry, wasn't it? Poor old Neil and Kelvin, it's always sad when it's your former employer that knocks your claims into a cocked hat. The Sun's editorial justifying their decision doesn't so much as mention Brian, for the reason this was all the doing of the PCC and royal aides.

Not that the Sun's reasoning is anything other than specious. The Sun, and Murdoch for that matter, have never cared a jot for press freedom, only for publicity and profit, the former of which this latest move has certainly brought. The Sun claims there was a need to publish the pictures in order "for the debate around them to be fully informed". This is, frankly, crap, and the paper knows it is. Anyone who wanted to see them had already done so, and anyone else has certainly read the descriptions of what they show. The Sun's public interest reasoning amounts to 23 words, or 2 whole sentences, that there are questions of his security and how his position in the army might be the affected. Soldiers have done far worse and kept their jobs, while we hardly needed to see the pictures to be able to talk about his security.

As for Harry having compromised his own privacy, can the Sun really have forgotten about Sienna Miller so quickly? By any yardstick, Miller's partying a few years back with a married man in full public view looked a far more open and shut case, and yet she still won a number of privacy actions. We already have reports that Harry's security detail asked his guests not to take photographs, more than suggesting that consent was not given. Lastly, the Sun claims that a previous ruling by the PCC makes their stance this time round a mockery. Back in 2010 they ruled that Loaded magazine had not invaded the privacy of "epic boobs" girl by reprinting images of her as they had been so widely disseminated online. The differences though are apparent: even though Loaded hadn't taken them from the young woman's Bebo page (she was 15 when they were posted), she had made them available herself. Moreover, there had been four years between the images being posted and Loaded republishing them, a period of time over which they had gone viral and become a meme. In this case we are talking about three days, not years.

All this said, this is hardly an issue worth getting out of your pram about, as some of the usual suspects have decided to. If Lord Leveson decides that it's further evidence of how certain sections of the press, despite everything, will continue to do whatever the hell they like, then the Sun has no one to blame but itself. And let's leave it at that.

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