For far too long, some in the media have decided that the ethical and legal constraints on publishing material about anyone, including journalists, editors and media moguls, do not apply to the Royal Family.
The Prince of Wales has, with reluctance and under extreme provocation, instituted legal proceedings against The Mail on Sunday, acording to a report in London’s Daily Telegraph,
19 November, 2005.
The Mail had been warned, not once but five times that if it published extracts from a private journal it would be a breach of the prince’s copyright and a breach of confidentiality.
Despite this the editor went ahead and published the extracts.
The journal, “The Handover of Hong Kong, or the Great Chinese Takeaway” related to the 1997 transfer of Hong Kong to the Peoples’ Republic of China.
The journal was private. It had only been sent to 11 close friends.
No one could reasonably disagree with this principle enunciated by Sir Michael Peat, the prince’s principal private secretary, that:
“Like everybody else, the Prince of Wales is entitled to write a private journal without extracts being published."
Some journalists seem to think that they can do anything and say anything they wish to about members of the Royal Family. It is time they learned to treat the Royal Family if not as deferentially – and as obsequiously – as they do their editors and their owners, but at least as fairly as anybody else.
Until next time,