Tamed British press avoid topless Kate pics

September 14, 2012 8:40 pm
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The Sun, Britain’s top-selling paper, was quick to say it would not be printing the photographs/AFP
LONDON, Sep 14 – The once riotous British press is unlikely to print topless pictures of Prince William’s wife Catherine, tamed by the shadow of Princess Diana and fear of a media ethics inquiry, experts said on Friday.

Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun last month was the sole British newspaper to publish mobile phone photographs of William’s brother Prince Harry cavorting nude in a Las Vegas hotel room, saying publication was in the public interest.

But The Sun, Britain’s top-selling paper, was quick to say it would not be printing the photographs of the former Kate Middleton which were published by French magazine Closer.

“The Sun has no intention of breaching the royal couple’s privacy,” its editor Dominic Mahon said.

Mohan argued that the photographs of the former Kate Middleton during a holiday in southern France could not be compared to the shots of a naked Prince Harry during a game of strip billiards in Las Vegas.

“The circumstances are very different to those relating to the photos of Prince Harry in Las Vegas,” he said.

“Prince Harry was at a party with a large group of strangers – one of whom released a photo into the public domain.”

No other British papers have so far picked up the shots of Catherine, and royal claims that her privacy had been invaded meant that none were likely to in future.

“In this country no editor, I promise you, is even beginning to think about publishing these pictures,” Neil Wallis, the former executive editor of Murdoch’s now defunct News of the World tabloid, told Sky News.

Wallis, who was arrested last year as part of the investigation into the phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of the paper, said it would be hard for any editor to defend publishing the pictures.

“There is a difference (with the Harry pictures) because The Sun would argue that there was a public interest defence. There is absolutely no public interest here,” said Wallis.

“The circumstances are very different to those relating to the photos of Prince Harry in Las Vegas” – The Sun.

The editor of The Sun’s tabloid rival, the Daily Mirror, Lloyd Embley, said the paper was offered similar images of Catherine last week but chose not to publish them.

Closer’s British edition said the French edition was printed under licence by another company and that it would not be following suit.

Closer France is published by Italian company Mondadori, owned by flamboyant billionaire tycoon and former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and chaired by his daughter Marina Berlusconi.

Britain’s press were chastened after the death of William’s mother Diana, whose car crashed in Paris in 1997 as she was being pursued by the paparazzi.

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