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Murdoch: Publish Naked Prince Photos, It’s Press Freedom!

Murdoch: Publish Naked Prince Photos, It’s Press Freedom!
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So much for Elisabeth Murdoch’s high-falutin’ McTaggart lecture about profit being “our servant not our master” last Thursday. While criticizing her younger brother James over his botched job as  chairman of News Corp.’s UK newspaper business, News International (she wanted him out), she had offered only praise for her father:

“My dad had the vision, the will and the sense of purpose to challenge the old world order on behalf of the people. But back even then, I understood we were in pursuit of a greater good, a belief in better.”

Apparently this “pursuit of a greater good” means that, when Rupert Murdoch’s in a tiff about criticism about his company, he orders that photos of a naked Prince Harry be published in his tabloid The Sun “against the wishes of the Royal Family because he wanted to send a warning shot to Lord Justice Leveson,” according to sources in the Independent.

On Thursday (same day as his daughter made her speech), Murdoch reportedly told NI publisher Tom Mockridge to publish the photos “amid suggestions that The Sun and other papers did not carry the photos for fear of recriminations in the Leveson report.”

The images had appeared on Wednesday on celebrity gossip website TMZ and, after St James’s Palace asked the Press Complaints Commission that it did not wish to see the photos published, all British papers abided by this request. Then on Friday, The Sun published the infamous photos of the man who’s third in line to inherit the British throne playing strip pool with strangers in his hotel suite in Las Vegas.

NI has been mum about whether Murdoch intervened but a “well-placed source” tells the Independent that he said the following to Mockridge in a phone call Thursday:

“There is a principle here. I know this is about Leveson but this is humiliating. We can’t carry on like this. We should run them, do it and say to Leveson, we are doing it for press freedom.”

Following weeks of testimony (included that of Rupert and James Murdoch) earlier this year, Lord Leveson is to publish a report this fall and is expected to ask for tougher regulation of the British press.  ”There are fears that The Sun’s actions may force Lord Justice Leveson to come down harder on newspapers,” says the Independent.

Murdoch’s Last Stand?

Publishing the photos despite the request not to was characteric Murdochian defiance but the bravado (if it can be called that) of the act is undermined by this being the age of the internet. The photos have been quite widely distributed; it’s not as if The Sun published anything exclusive.

Indeed, the ease with which information, images, everything is disseminated via the internet has raised other issues. This Sunday morning, British culture secretary Jeremy Hunt (who is under fire for being himself too close to James Murdoch regarding News Corp.’s failed attempt to buy a larger share of BSkyB television), said that “Personally I cannot see what the public interest was in publishing those.”

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Photo by Gwydion M. Williams

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105 comments

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2:35AM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

The Media in general have no morals, all they want is to sell more papers by any means at all.

Freedom of the press is a good thing...IF they have morals and in these days not many have so we MUST have laws who protect the private life of people...royal OR not.

If this is not done the life of many will be very very hard ended.

8:14AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

lost morals creates such a slippery slope

12:29AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

I agree with Veronica C. I don't want to see those photos and Murdoch is a despicable excuse for a human being.

10:44AM PDT on Sep 9, 2012

Thanks

3:33AM PDT on Sep 8, 2012

Even though the royalty warned those in Britain not to publish the pictures, he has decided to exploit the situation because he is a vile, bitter old man.

4:20PM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

I don't see why they needed to be printed anywhere by anyone! I don't need to see them, whether he's a Royal, celebrity, or average Joe. What happens in Vegas, or anywhere else, can stay there. I'm not entertained by tabloid dirt.

9:06PM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

I know the royal family is sacred in Britain, but Murdoch is right (at least on American soil). Each country has its own set of laws. I will defer to the Brits on this

3:10AM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

It's a well known fact that this media juggernaut feeds off gossip and "dirt",and one of their most popular targets is the British Royal Family.Maybe Rupert is jealous that the Queen is richer than him?!Harry is unfortunately,a typical "GenY" who doesn't seem to have grasped the concept of actions and consequences?When you are a royal in the USA,you can't trust anybody,even at your "private"party! Money always talks!

9:09AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

I know Harry is Dum Diana's son, but he isn't Charles' son. Remember that redhaired and freckled equerry, James Something? Does the Family know?

7:04AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

I agree that Murdoch is now trying to carve out the royal pound of flesh. Even though the royalty warned those in Britain not to publish the pictures, he has decided to exploit the situation because he is a vile, bitter old man.

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