I’m frankly disgusted that The Sun has decreed that I have a right to see Prince Harry’s penis, but not Kate Middleton’s nipples. I fail to understand how my being unable to see Prince Harry naked is somehow a disgusting breach of the freedom of speech of the UK press but my being unable to see Kate Middleton naked is completely correct because this is a hideous invasion of her privacy.
Let us briefly review. Prince Harry was happily naked in a hotel room where he had a reasonable expectation of privacy, someone took photos of him from a short distance away without his permission that he doesn’t want published and these are fine for me to see. Kate Middleton was happily naked on a balcony where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy, someone took photos of her from a long distance away without her permission that she doesn’t want published and this is an invasion of privacy. Both of the sets of photos, as confirmed by my Facebook newsfeed about four nanoseconds after each event, are freely available on the internet and everybody who wants to has seen them.
Currently the only difference between the two pictures is how far away someone had to stand to take the photos. Oh, and Harry is a man while Kate is a woman, but that’s it.
But it can’t be that Kate’s a woman, because The Sun has already shown it is completely happy to publish photos of celebrity nipples or “nipslips” as it calls them. It’s also quite happy to report on the complex social issue that is the rise and rise of the sideboob – where I’m sure the ladies featured are happy that pictures of their breasts are used to further such pressing social issues.
“Andreas”, I hear you cry, “What’s your point?” (I have good hearing). My point is that the Kate Middleton issue highlights our need for press regulation, The Sun‘s hypocrisy in its the decision over which particular pictures it should print, and our need to consider people’s privacy more in the ongoing debate about freedom of speech.
The British Press can go on and on about how this issue shows that self-regulation works, that they aren’t printing the Kate photos and aren’t they wonderful, etc. etc. but we all know the only reason The Sun isn’t printing these ones is that there would be a backlash because the public see Kate as more vulnerable. She is seen by many as a small and quiet woman rather than a brash and lovable soldier who is ‘just larking around’.
Well, I have news for you. There’s nothing different about these two sets of photos. They’re both taken without permission, available on the internet for every idiot to see and neither of the subjects wants us to see them naked. If The Sun claims freedom of speech over one and not the other then it just goes to show that there was no validity in their earlier claims that the Prince Harry photos were anything to do with freedom of the press and were everything to do about making more money by selling more issues of a gossip-rag.
But I’m sure that’s not the case.
* Andreas Christodoulou is the Treasurer of the Northampton Liberal Democrats, works as an auditor in Leicester, and writes here in a purely personal capacity