Prince Harry's Complaint Against British Newspaper Over Wildlife Photos Rejected

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Prince Harry
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Prince Harry's complaint against the Mail on Sunday over an article published in April has been dismissed by the UK Independent Press Standards Organization.

The Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO) made their decision public on Thursday. The article in question was published on April 27, 2019, its headline reading, "Drugged and tethered... what Harry didn’t tell you about those awe-inspiring wildlife photos in Malawi." According to the article, Harry shared wildlife photos on Instagram that made it seem like he was an incredible wildlife photographer, but the animals Harry took photos of were tranquilized or, in the elephant's case, had its leg tethered.

"Judging by his spectacular photographs of African wildlife, the Duke of Sussex is something of a natural behind the lens," the article reads. "But while the camera never lies, Harry’s pictures of a rhino, elephant and lion don’t quite tell the full story."

"The Duke posted the pictures to highlight Earth Day -- the annual environmental protection event -- alongside a caption in which he preached about safeguarding the planet," the article continues. "However, he notably avoided explaining the circumstances in which the images were taken -- the tranquillised animals were in various states of comatose as they were being relocated as part of conservation projects."

In his complaint, Harry argued that he had not misled the public with the Instagram photos, and the caption made clear that the animals were being relocated as part of conservation efforts. He also said that images had been posted to Instagram to raise awareness for Earth Day -- not to show off his talent as a photographer -- and that he had no choice but to crop the photos in that way because of Instagram's formatting requirements.

However, IPSO ruled that it was not in fact clear from the images that the animals had been tranquilized and tethered, and that the photos could have been edited differently to show the elephant's tethered leg. The organization also pointed out that the Mail on Sunday did include Harry's denial that he deliberately edited out the tether on the image of the elephant.

"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," the ruling read.

In October, Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, announced they were pursuing legal action against Associated Newspapers -- owners of the Daily Mail, MailOnline, Metro and more -- after the Mail on Sunday published a private, handwritten letter that Meghan wrote to her estranged father.

"As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting. We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world -- on every level -- we have never needed responsible media more," Harry said in an official statement. "Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences -- a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son."

"There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face -- as so many of you can relate to -- I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been," the statement continued. "Because in today’s digital age, press fabrications are repurposed as truth across the globe. One day’s coverage is no longer tomorrow’s chip-paper."

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