Whilst a French court has ruled this morning that France’s Closer magazine may no longer publish nude images of Kate Middleton and must remove them by Wednesday noon French time or face punitive damages what’s up in the air is whether a criminal suit can also now be brought against the journal and the photographer who first took the images on the grounds of invasion of privacy.
The decision follows a formal complaint made on behalf of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge yesterday.
The preliminary probe will allow the prosecutor to decide whether to proceed with a full investigation of allegations that Closer magazine and a photographer breached the couple’s right to privacy, AFP reports.
Although a win for the royal couple to get the images out of circulation in France (where the decision is only binding, which means for the time being images can still be found in other parts of the world) there lies a type of danger should the courts mandate criminal proceedings against Closer’s magazine’s editor in chief, Laurence Pieau as well as that of the un named photographer thought at present to be Valerie Suau (despite her emphatic denials).
The danger in criminally prosecuting such individual’s poses grave questions as to the veracity of the media’s ability to examine issues and instances which might on the surface appear unsavory and impolite. Could one imagine as a journalist or as an editor facing the real possibility of going to jail for simply writing or reprinting images that may offend an individual’s or institution’s sensibilities? Hardly the tone a free society would want to impart.
Then again this is the royal family which commands one of the highest offices of power and it is somehow telling and disingenuous that the royal house and other highly powerful entities should be able to criminally prosecute the media for images which agreeably not savory or perhaps in the best interest of moral journalism which ostensibly in their simplest base level only represent a woman topless. Worse crimes have happened in the world and to allow the royal house or other high powerful entities now the power to go after journalists does pose grave risks to the autonomy of a free society.
For her part, French Closer magazine’s editor in chief Laurence Pieau remains adamant that she did nothing wrong for publishing said images:
“One shouldn’t dramatise these pictures. The reactions are a little disproportionate.
“What we saw in the pictures was a young couple who have just married, who are in love, who are beautiful.
“These are pictures that will go around the world and that’s our headline and, honestly, I don’t know of a single celebrity magazine in the world that would not have run these pictures had they had them.”
Now of course the question sometime down the road may end up becoming will an editor risk jail time for the simple reproduction of a woman topless whilst on holiday never mind more incriminating images or stories that the media from time to time gets its hands on which it should always be allowed to explore…