Prince Harry loses battle against UK tabloid

Jan 31, 2020
IPSO (Independent Press Standard's Organisation) did not uphold Prince Harry's complaint. Source: Getty.

Prince Harry has lost a legal fight against one of the UK’s largest tabloids.

The Duke of Sussex issued a complaint against the Mail on Sunday last year in relation to an article they published on April 28 2019 regarding wildlife photographs taken personally by Harry.

The article, titled ‘Drugged and tethered … what Harry didn’t tell you about those awe-inspiring wildlife photos’ claimed that Harry had “notably avoided explaining the circumstances in which the images were taken”, reporting that the rhino and lion pictured had both been tranquillised, while the elephant’s rear legs – which were not visible in the cropped photo – were bound by rope.

Harry took umbrage with the reporting and lodged a complaint with the regulatory body IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation), in which he claimed the publication had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

In his complaint he argued that the coverage suggested he had “intentionally misled the public” to give the impression that he was a superior wildlife photographer, and alleged that the captions had “made clear that the animals were being relocated”.

However, having investigated the duke’s claims, IPSO found that there was no breach. In the public ruling, shared on their website, they said: “The Committee considered that it was not clear from the images themselves that the animals had been tranquillised and tethered.

“The photograph of the elephant had been cropped to edit out the animal’s tethered leg … The accompanying caption did not make the position clear or that the images had previously been published, unedited, in 2016.”

View this post on Instagram

Today is #earthday – an opportunity to learn about, celebrate and continue to safeguard our planet, our home. The above, Their Royal Highnesses in Rotorua, New Zealand. Of the 170 different species originally planted in the early 1900’s, only a handful of species, including these majestic Redwoods, remain today. Next, we invite you to scroll through a series of 8 photos taken by The Duke of Sussex©️DOS sharing his environmental POV including: Africa’s Unicorn, the rhino. These magnificent animals have survived ice ages and giant crocodiles, amongst other things! They have adapted to earth’s changing climate continually for over 30 million years. Yet here we are in 2019 where their biggest threat is us. A critical ecosystem, Botswana’s Okavango Delta sustains millions of people and an abundance of wildlife. Huge bush fires, predominantly started by humans, are altering the entire river system; the ash kills the fish as the flood comes in and the trees that don’t burn become next year’s kindling. Desert lions are critically endangered due partly to human wildlife conflict, habitat encroachment and climate change. 96% of mammals on our 🌍 are either livestock or humans, meaning only 4% remaining are wild animals. Orca and Humpback whale populations are recovering in Norway thanks to the protection of their fisheries. Proof that fishing sustainably can benefit us all. Roughly 3/4 of Guyana is forested, its forests are highly diverse with 1,263 known species of wildlife and 6,409 species of plants. Many countries continue to try and deforest there for the global demand for timber. We all now know the damage plastics are causing to our oceans. Micro plastics are also ending up in our food source, creating not just environmental problems for our planet but medical problems for ourselves too. When a fenced area passes its carrying capacity for elephants, they start to encroach into farmland causing havoc for communities. Here @AfricanParksNetwork relocated 500 Elephants to another park within Malawi to reduce the pressure on human wildlife conflict and create more dispersed tourism. Every one of us can make a difference, not just today but every day. #earthday

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

The photographs in question were shared on Instagram by the duke and duchess back in April 2019 to mark ‘Earth Day’. Three of the images in particular showed a lion, rhino and an elephant. However the fact that these animals had been photographed while tranquillised or bound was not immediately evident from looking at the photos due to the way they had been cropped.

The incredible photographs were posted alongside a message which read: “We invite you to scroll through a series of 8 photos taken by The Duke of Sussex©️DOS sharing his environmental POV.”

These photographs, taken by Prince Harry, were the subject of the complaint. Source: Instagram/Sussex Royal.

Writing about the rhino, the statement continued: “Africa’s Unicorn, the rhino. These magnificent animals have survived ice ages and giant crocodiles, amongst other things! They have adapted to earth’s changing climate continually for over 30 million years. Yet here we are in 2019 where their biggest threat is us.”

It also stated: “When a fenced area passes its carrying capacity for elephants, they start to encroach into farmland causing havoc for communities. Here @AfricanParksNetwork relocated 500 Elephants to another park within Malawi to reduce the pressure on human wildlife conflict and create more dispersed tourism.”

Prince Harry reportedly issued a warning to the press over these images of Meghan and Archie. Source: Daily Mail.

Earlier this month, Prince Harry threatened legal action once again after paparazzi photos of his wife Meghan and eight-month-old son Archie Harrison were widely published by the world’s media. According to the BBC, Harry issued a warning to the press in relation to the photos of Meghan taking a stroll through a public park on Vancouver Island with Archie and the couple’s two dogs, with the couple’s lawyers claiming they were taken without her consent.

The Duchess of Sussex is also currently locked in a legal battle of her own against the Mail on Sunday, after the weekly publication published excerpts from a private letter that Meghan wrote to her father Thomas Markle following the royal wedding almost two years ago.

Despite the letter being shared with the newspaper by Markle himself, the duchess claimed that the decision to publish it was “intrusive and unlawful”. These proceedings are ongoing.

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