Should the British Media Be Allowed to Publish Private Photos of the Royal Family or Should Their Privacy Be Protected?

With the development of science and technology, the media is also developing rapidly, from the original newspaper, broadcast, TV to today's Internet, mobile phone, electronic magazines and so on.

There is no doubt that is progress, indeed, the media provides a lot of convenience to our life, for example: we needn’t go out and know what happened all over the world; if any place was hit by disaster, only through the media dissemination for help, friends from all over the world would lend a hand immediately. However, everything has two sides and the media is no exception. As we know, media is too transparent to make our life sometimes no privacy, especially some public figures’ life and feelings are always exposed. This essay will examine whether the British media should be allowed to publish private photos of the Royal family or should their privacy be protected?

Firstly, I think private photos should be protected. Privacy has been defined as the `right of individuals to control the collection and use of personal information about themselves.'(Mason, 1986). And privacy is a fundamental right recognized in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It means that everyone should be equal and their privacy should be protected. Some laws and regulations, which are in the field of personal privacy protection, are also being found. For example, ‘there is comprehensive protection for privacy, potential civil and criminal liability, and human rights protection under the European Convention on Human Rights.’ (Gilbert, 2012).

So it is obvious that Western people will pay more attention to the privacy protection. Even avoid asking about their age, income, and marital status. They often use ‘nose into people's private life,’ to say people who asked such questions with contempt. Therefore, publishing private photo without individual's permission is an unlawful behavior. Secondly, the British royal family belongs to public figure, not ordinary person. And ‘the members of the Royal Family support The Queen in her many State and national duties, as well as carrying out important work in the areas of public and charitable service, and helping to strengthen national unity and stability.’ (The role of the Royal Family, 2007).

That means members of the Royal family are able to recognize and participate in community and local events in every part of the UK, from the opening of new buildings to celebrations or acts of commemoration. Therefore, Royal Family plays a positive and gracious role in British society. However, there are some British royal family private photos were published in the public, and those photos have a negative effect on Royal family’s image.

Some people suggested that those behaviors are actually invaded Royal family’s privacy. But there are some people said that the British royal family is the public figures, and their photos should not belong to infringement. But I have to say that when they got back home to have a meal, sleep and make friends, etc, they also just an ordinary people, who are same as all of people’s life. Therefore, the British media should not publish the photos of the Royal family. Then the other side of this issue would be discussed in the following.

That is Royal family were born in an unusual family, destined to their life would be revealed by the media. In other words, our world is fairness, they can enjoy the supreme honor; they can receive ten thousand people’ respect and admiration; they can enjoy the most luxurious life, etc. However, their private life is facing constantly exposure and revelation. Some of common things just connect with them that will be focused on, and will become the hot topic in public to talk about. In fact, some of their private photos should publish, because public figures should be actively influenced people and accept the supervision of the people.

Some of photos can reflect their personal life, and their positive image can inspire the next generation. In contrast, some negative images or some bad way of life should not publish. Because those pictures would influence the images of the Royal family in people’s mind, especially have a negative effect on children. Therefore, private photos of the Royal family should be allowed to publish. All in all, according to the discussion of this issue from two aspects, I think no one opinion is absolutely right.

Although the British Royal family is public figure, they also common persons; their privacy should also be protected by the law. Everyone has the right to protect their own privacy and the media should not just for benefits or media value to exposure everything regardless of privacy of people. In contrast, their identity particularity cause that they were born by all the attention. And their behavior always to a large extent affects to young people's behavior, so the media should expose a part of their privacy to the public so that they set a good image to the public, whilst, it is requires that the public figures also should be attention their behavior particular in the public.

Reference: R.O. Mason (1986), Four ethical issues of the information age, MIS Quarterly, 10 (1) pp. 4–12. (Accessed: 19 October 2012)

Gilbert, D (September 14, 2012) After Diana: How can intimate royal snaps be published in France? CNN, [Online]. Available: http://www.cnn.co.uk/2012/09/14/world/europe/france-privacy-law-qa/index.html (Accessed: 19 October 2012)

The official website of The British Monarchy, (2007), the role of the Royal Family. [Online].Available: http://www.royal.gov.uk/MonarchUK/HowtheMonarchyworks/TheroleoftheRoyalFamily.aspx [Online]. Available: