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U.K. Press Watchdog Won't Probe Sun's Publication of Naked Prince Harry Photos

Prince Harry Bahama Tour - P 2012
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince Harry

The Press Complaints Commission said the royals haven't filed a complaint yet, and it "would be inappropriate for it to open an investigation at this time."

LONDON - The U.K. press watchdog said late Thursday that it will not investigate the publication of the naked photos of Prince Harry by The Sun, the big tabloid of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The Press Complaints Commission said it discussed the issue as a regular meeting this week.

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It said it received around 3,800 complaints that the Sun's publication breached the royal's privacy, but "has concluded that it would be inappropriate for it to open an investigation at this time" for several reasons.

"The Commission is in continuing dialogue with Prince Harry's representatives, but as yet has not received a formal complaint," it explained before adding: "An investigation by the Commission, without consent, would have the potential itself to pose an intrusion."

The PCC added that it "would be best placed to understand these issues - including the circumstances in which the photographs were taken - with the formal involvement of Prince Harry's representatives."

The watchdog didn't say if and when Prince Harry's representatives may finish reviewing their options, including a possible formal complaint.

The Commission also said on Thursday that it issued an advisory notice on Aug. 22 "drawing to editors' attention the concerns of Prince Harry's representatives, on privacy grounds, about the potential publication of the photographs in the U.K. press. Such notices help individuals at the center of a news story to express concerns that the U.K.'s Editors' Code of Practice is being breached or may be breached.

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"These notices do not prohibit publication; they help editors to make well-informed decisions about how to cover the news in a way that meets their obligations under the Code," the PCC explained. "In this instance, as always, the decision whether or not to publish remained with the editor of each publication."

Murdoch had in a recent tweet supported the decision by the Sun's editor to run the photos as a statement in support of press freedom.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai