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Friday, Oct 30, 2020

Prince Harry loses complaint over 'drugged and tethered' animal pictures

Prince Harry has lost a complaint against the Mail on Sunday over a story criticising his wildlife photos.
The Duke of Sussex said the newspaper breached a clause of the Editors’ Code of Practice relating to ‘accuracy’ in the article headlined ‘Drugged and tethered… what Harry didn’t tell you about those awe-inspiring wildlife photos’ which was published on 28 April last year.

It concerned pictures Harry posted to the Sussex Royal Instagram page to mark Earth Day but had claimed they ‘don’t quite tell the full story’.

The newspaper reported that followers of the duke’s Instagram account were unable to see a rope around the hind legs of one of the elephants pictured.

Harry complained that the article was inaccurate because it had implied he had deliberately misled the public by cropping the elephant picture.

But the Independent Press Standards Organisation determined there was no breach of the code.

Harry argued the full uncropped photograph had been published on the Royal Family website in 2016 and has been publicly available ever since.

He also said it was published on the website of the organisation which organised the conservation work, which featured a description and a video of the tranquilising and tethering process.

His Instagram post had linked back to the website, the duke said.

In a summary of its findings, Ipso said: ‘The Committee considered that it was not clear from the images themselves that the animals had been tranquilised and tethered.

‘The photograph of the elephant had been cropped to edit out the animal’s tethered leg; the publication had demonstrated that the photograph could have been edited differently and the complainant accepted that the album could have been uploaded in a different format which would have made editing the photograph unnecessary.

‘The accompanying caption did not make the position clear or that the images had previously been published, unedited, in 2016.

‘The position was not made clear simply as a result of the inclusion of the link to the website.

‘In these circumstances, the Committee did not consider that it was significantly misleading to report that the photographs posted on the complainant’s Instagram account did not quite tell the full story.’

They also said the article focused on Harry’s ‘publicly available Instagram posts and the information they displayed’, and therefore it wasn’t necessary for the newspaper to contact him for comment.

‘Nevertheless, the publication had included the complainant’s denial that he had deliberately edited out the tether on the image of the elephant,’ Ipso said.

‘There was no failure to take care not to publish inaccurate information.’

Both Harry and Meghan announced they would be taking legal action against the press at the end of their tour of southern Africa.

The Duchess of Sussex is suing the Mail on Sunday after it published one of her private letters to her father, Thomas Markle.

Meghan accuses the paper of misusing her private information, breaching copyright and selective editing.

The Mail on Sunday rejects the claims and says there was ‘huge and legitimate’ public interest in publishing the note.

Days after confirming his wife’s legal case, the duke announced he would take legal action against the owners of the Sun, the defunct News of the World, and the Daily Mirror, in relation to alleged phone-hacking.
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