Thursday, 23 August 2012

Royal nudity and indignant death

It struck me as odd this morning that the British newspapers have decided not to publish photos of the naked Prince Harry in an LA hotel as he played strip billiards, especially as those photos are widely available on the net. We have reporters laying the blame at the door of the Leveson Inquiry and astounded by the censorship of the press with regard to photos can only be described as a royal cockup (pun intended). I'm not getting into the ins and outs (ha) of the Harry photos, primarily because I don't really care for all things royal and secondly I don't really see what the fuss is all about. Young man gets drunk and naked in a hotel room and fails to ensure that those he's naked with doesn't have a camera, woop de doo, non story. I'm not saying that the photos should or shouldn't be published, but it seems strange to see the British media pandering so obviously to Royal whim.

What this was contrasted with this morning is that the British media apparently have no problem with publishing photos of the late Tony Nicklinson as the undertakers took him away yesterday. This is the same press that when the news broke of Nicklinson's death yesterday were quick to speculate causes and if someone had indeed given him his wish of euthanasia.

For those of you who don't know Tony Nicklinson brought a case to the High Court last week asking for a right to die, and lost. He was left with locked in syndrome after suffering a stroke in 2005. What was once a vibrant, active and energetic man was left paralysed and speechless, able only to communicate through blinking his eyes. Nicklinson asked the court to grant immunity from prosecution for murder for a doctor who would give him a fatal dose of painkillers to end his life in Britain. Upon losing his case he accused the court of leaving him to a "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable" life. Nicklinson went on hunger strike and refused medical treatment after the court's decision last week. He developed pneumonia over the weekend and died from the resulting complications. Nicklinson believed he had an undignified life and sought legal help to ensure that he did not have an undignified death.

Alas his fight was in vain. Nicklinson's family watched as he refused food and medical treatment. They accepted his death and were saddened yet relieved that their Dad and husband no longer had to suffer. And then along came the paparazzi. At a time when privacy is a necessity the press were in wait. Quick to cast aspersions on the manner of his death and like vultures quick to swoop in to get photos of his dead body. The press that refuses to show photos of the party prince have no problem with adding insult to injury to a man that only wanted to die in peace and without pain.
What does it say about the reader that their press thinks that photos of a young, naked prince in his prime aren't fit for public consumption but the body of a battered and broken man at his most vulnerable is?

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