The paparazzi’s intrusive nature has, time and again, been a huge problem for the royal family. Princess Diana was hounded by news-eager paparazzi when she perished in a road crash in Paris back in 1997.
For years, Kate Middleton has also been subjected to a wave of intense scrutiny from publications. Worse, a recent case that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge filed against several media representatives got pushed back by four months.
The royal couple’s lawyer Aurelien Hamelle underscored that Kate was not an object, and had felt “violated” when topless photographs of her while on holiday with Prince William came out as an exclusive in the French magazine Closer. The “grotesque breach of privacy,” as the couple’s lawyer described it, led to their filing of legal proceedings against the magazine publisher.
The snaps were taken in 2012, while Kate and William were enjoying a holiday at Chateau D’Autet, a luxury chateau in Provence owned by Viscount Linley. Viscount is a nephew of the Queen. Reports revealed the images of Kate were captured by long lens from the side of the road between trees at a distance of around half a mile from the chateau.
Balancing of Interests Test
Countless cases emanating from conflicts between freedom of expression and right to privacy have occurred throughout the years.
Media people including photographers often get embroiled in controversies and legal battles when they publicize private matters. Publishers may claim that they were presenting something of public interest or that the individuals involved had forfeited their privacy interest by being public figures.
The big question is whether the public’s right to information is able to justify the distribution of the photograph taken without authorization.
Stalking celebrities, including royalty, has long been a perennial problem, but an invasion of privacy is treated in different ways depending on the country. France is known to have strict privacy laws.
In many other countries, it is regarded as an utter disregard of journalistic ethics.
Cause of Trial Delay
Six media representatives including Closer’s editorial director, Mondadori France legal director, La Provence director of publication and photographer will face trial. However, it was postponed from early January to May since the legal counsel for the two agency photographers needed preparation time, having just recently taken over the case.
All of the accused denied any wrongdoing. Their main point of contention: it is of “great public interest that young Royalty now choose to sunbathe topless.”
Kate Middleton had sought damages in 2009 when a photographer took her picture while she was playing tennis during a Christmas holiday in Cornwall. She received a sum representing damages plus an apology from the concerned British photographic press agency that syndicated the image to foreign media entities.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons