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Friday, December 19, 1997 Published at 15:21 GMT



UK

Tabloids get code of honour after Diana's death
image: [ Lord Wakeham says the code is the toughest in Europe ]
Lord Wakeham says the code is the toughest in Europe

Britain's press watchdog has published a new code of practice that it calls "the toughest in Europe" following public outcry against media intrusion after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.


The BBC's Media Correspondent, Torin Douglas, reports (:48)
Britain's tabloids were urged to respect new guidelines on privacy, harassment, intrusion into grief, children and what may be published in the public interest.

Will newspapers stop snooping? Click here for today's Talking Point.

Diana died in high-speed Paris car crash while being chased by paparazzi photographers on motorbikes. Her driver later was found to have been drunk.


[ image: The princes will be protected from
The princes will be protected from "unnecessary intrusion"
Under the new code, drawn up after wide consultation in the industry, "persistent pursuit" by reporters or photographers is forbidden.

And in a move to protect Diana's two sons, William, 15, and Harry, 13, the code says young people should be free to complete their time at school "without unnecessary intrusion."

The code, which newspapers observe on a self-regulatory basis, also provides protection for the children of the famous by banning newspapers from approaching or photographing pupils without the permission of school authorities.


Lord Wakeham describes the new, tougher code (4' 09")
Lord Wakeham, the Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, said he was pleased the newspaper and magazine industry had responded so positively to the recommendations he put forward in September, immediately after Diana's death.


[ image: Diana in 1996]
Diana in 1996
"As I said at that time, the new code will be the toughest set of industry regulations anywhere in Europe," Lord Wakeham said.

He would be continuing efforts to seek equivalent provisions in other European countries to deal with the issue of media harassment.

Sir David English, a former editor of the Daily Mail and chairman of the newspaper industry's code committee, said he was confident that British editors and journalists would observe the code.

But some media commentators have questioned whether new guidelines will stick, as newspapers have in the past cheerfully violated self-imposed restrictions when they got in the way of a good story.

Included in the new code of practice is a ban on the use of long lens photography to take pictures of people in private without their consent.

Also forbidden is obtaining or publishing material gathered by using clandestine listening devices or by intercepting private telephone conversations.

Two of the most scandalous stories surrounding the British royal family in recent years resulted from the publication of secretly recorded intimate phone calls between Prince Charles and his companion Camilla Parker Bowles and between Princess Diana and her friend James Gilbey.
 





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