Front Page







World Summary

On Air


Talking Point


Text Only


Site Map

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


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.

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


  Comment on this story in today's Talking Point.  
  Relevant Stories

19 Dec 97 | UK
Diana and Dodi chart the future in 'last interview'

14 Oct 97 | UK
Watchdog gets tough on press

  Internet Links

The BBC's Diana pages

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online

UK Contents

Northern Ireland