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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Merkel snaps anger German press
By Sebastian Usher
BBC World Media correspondent

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel is on a two-week holiday in the gulf of Naples
Unflattering pictures of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a British newspaper have sparked a backlash from the German government and media.

The Sun printed photos of Mrs Merkel on holiday taken from behind while changing into her bathing costume.

A government spokesman accused the tabloid of voyeurism and said the chancellor had a right to privacy.

There is little the British tabloid press likes more than the chance to have a go at Germany and the Germans.

Mrs Merkel is the latest target. The Sun printed the photos under one of its trademark puns: "I'm Big in the Bumdestag".


A German government spokesman, Thomas Steg, said: "This is certainly not traditional British courtesy", but he ruled out any legal action against The Sun.

The reaction in parts of the German media has been fiercer.

Bild - itself a sort of German version of The Sun - said: "The English are mocking our Chancellor." And it asked: "Where does this hatred come from?"

It reprinted a page from The Sun - but reduced in size and with a big red square partially covering a photo of Chancellor Merkel.

The Sun pictures of Angela Merkel look like the preliminary round in what is likely to be a series of British tabloid stories mocking the Germans in the run-up to the World Cup, being held in Germany this summer, most referring one way or another to World War II.

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