Prince Harry deals with huge blow as his media complaint is dismissed

Prince Harry deals with huge blow as his media complaint is dismissed

Prince Harry has lost an Ipso complaint over a Mail on Sunday story that revealed he had photos taken with a “drugged and tethered” elephant.

The Duke of Sussex lodged a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation, saying the paper had breached Clause 1 of its Editors’ Code of Practice, “Accuracy”, regarding the article published on April 28 last year.

For Earth Day, Harry took to the Sussex Royal Instagram account to post wildlife photos – the same pictures were used by The Mail on Sunday for a story with the headline: “Drugged and tethered … what Harry didn’t tell you about those awe-inspiring wildlife photos”.

The article stated that the photographs “don’t quite tell the full story” as the image on Instagram cropped out the rope that was wrapped around the back legs of one of the elephants, adding that the complainant “notably avoided explaining the circumstances in which the images were taken.”

The same article reported that a spokesperson for the complainant had refused to discuss the photos, though “sources denied the rope was deliberately edited out of the elephant picture, claiming instead that ‘it was due to Instagram’s format’.”

All three animals pictured – a rhino, elephant and lion – had been tranquilised and the elephant had been tethered as they were being relocated as part of a conservation project, according to reports.

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Harry believed the article was inaccurate as it had implied that he purposely conned the public through cropping. But Ipso said no code had been breached, saying there had been “no failure to take care not to publish inaccurate information”.

He said that the image was cropped due to Instagram’s sizing requirements and because his feed had a specific style guide that they needed to stick to.

The press regulator posted their findings online, saying: “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 uploading 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 and that the complainant had not explained the circumstances in which the photographs had been taken.

“There was no breach of Clause 1.”

The ruling then says: “Where the article focused on the complainant’s publicly available Instagram posts and the information they displayed, the Committee did not consider that it was necessary for the newspaper to contact the complainant for comment on the published claims.”