I was in two minds whether to write this post; and even as I write it, I’m still in two minds whether to actually publish it. If I do, it certainly won’t be until the immediate heat of the news story has died down.
You see, it’s about Prince Harry, and those pictures which appeared of him in Las Vegas. And I think in all the ensuing debate which our media seems to be so keen to promote on the subject, there is far more heat than light. I really don’t want to add to that.
So although there’s plenty I could say, I am going to restrict my comments to just two specific facets of the issue.
The first is a comment I saw reported, which was apparently made on Newsnight by a former newspaper executive. He was saying that prior to the Leveson enquiry into media standards, a newspaper would have published these pictures and no harm would have been done. “No harm done” – that struck me as an interesting comment, so I read on.
The argument was that no one would have thought less of the paper that published the images, and no one would have thought less of Prince Harry. Those arguments may or may not be true, but what’s interesting (as so often in these cases) is what was not said. There was no reported comment at all on how Prince Harry himself might feel, or how for example his relationships with others might be affected. This strikes me as a somewhat flawed analysis of the impact of publication. Maybe that’s just me….
The second facet of this which struck me was how quick people are to condemn the media for this sort of intrusion. But what was noticeable in this case was that, long before the UK media had published a single picture, the images were plastered all over social media sites. Private individuals were seeking them out online, looking at them, and sharing them. I’m not saying that this absolves the media of any responsibility – far from it. But it strikes me that to a certain extent we get the media we deserve.
I am always banging on about how our actions, thoughts and beliefs shape the world we live in, and this seemed a case in point.
If we want a world where privacy is respected, then that has to start at a personal level, with us as individuals, exercising our right to choose.