“More than 850 complaints” have been filed with the UK Press Complaints Commission over the Sun’s printing the pictures, the PCC’s Jonathan Collett confirmed with iMediaEthics August 26. When we wrote August 23, the day before the Sun published the pictures, the PCC told us that it “has not received a formal complaint about the photographs” yet.
The PCC told the Guardian that “Almost all the complaints are from members of the public and nearly all are about invasions of privacy.” As we wrote, the pictures were taken in Prince Harry’s “VIP suite” in a hotel during his “private” trip to Las Vegas. The PCC’s Collett told iMediaEthics the complaints all concern the Sun’s publication of the photos.
The PCC’s “Editors’ Code of Practice” has a section related to privacy that reads:
- “i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.
- “ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual’s private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant’s own public disclosures of information.
- “iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals in private places without their consent.
- “Note – Private places are public or private property where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Before running the real pictures, though the Sun showed a photo of an intern with a Sun “staffer” posing in a “mock-up of the Prince Harry naked pictures,” the Guardian noted. The “mock-up” photo ran in the Sun’s print edition, but according to the Guardian, also “briefly appeared online before being removed,” which the Sun’s parent company explained as being posted “in error.”
Since the photo was published, the two photographed said in a statement that the photo was “a bit of harmless fun” and that “for anyone worried about whether we were forced against our will to strip off, we are pleased to be able to set the record straight. Please be assured, there is no cover-up at Wapping.”