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The Princes and the Press: Harry wanted to speak about hacking
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Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House took the rare step of issuing a joint statement in response to BBC documentary ‘The Princes and the Press’, which aired on Monday. The statement, shown at the end of the documentary, read: “A free, responsible and open press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy. However, too often overblown and unfounded claims from unnamed sources are presented as facts and it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility.”
According to the Mail on Sunday the Palace had threatened to stop cooperating with the BBC in future projects if a right to respond was not given.
A senior royal source told the Mail on Sunday that the Queen was “upset” that the “tittle-tattle” documentary aired without the Palace having the chance to see it first.
The programme described the endless pursuit of the Princes’ private lives by the press, while exploring royal scandals of the past.
In the BBC show, different versions of the same ‘Tiaragate’ story were presented, including an account claiming Prince Harry was told off by the Queen for shouting at a royal dresser.
Some more serious revelations were uncovered in the programme, as private investigator Gavin Burrows claimed he targeted the Duke of Sussex’s ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy for surveillance when they were dating.
Mr Burrows said: “There was a lot of voicemail hacking going on, there was a lot of surveillance work on Chelsy Davy on her phones, on her comms.”
Presenter, Amol Rajan, pushed Mr Burrows: “So her life became an object of obsession for you guys as well?”
Mr Burrows replied: “Yes. Medical records, had she had an abortion, sexual diseases, ex boyfriends—vet them, check them—education.”
Mr Rajan pointed out that Mr Burrows “is now providing evidence in the legal actions against the publisher of the News of the World and the Sun” and added that “his claims are strongly disputed by them”.
This comes after Prince William attacked the BBC earlier this year for its failings surrounding Martin Bashir’s 1995 Panorama interview with his mother Princess Diana.
After the verdict was announced in May that Mr Bashir had acquired the interview by deceit, Prince William said: “It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.”
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The Royal Family has worked closely with the newscaster ever since the Queen’s Coronation broadcast in 1953. It was watched by over 11.9 million people.
In the UK, the BBC remains the most trusted news brand according to the Digital News Report, with 62 percent of people ranking it between six to ten on a ten-point scale.
BBC is followed by ITV News on 61 percent, Channel 4 News on 58 percent, the Financial Times on 56 percent and Sky News on 54 percent.
The BBC World Service reaches a staggering weekly audience of around 279 million people globally.
But which is a more valuable institution to the British public – the Monarchy or the BBC? Have your say in the comments section below.
The BBC’s digital platforms are the most popular means of accessing BBC News – surpassing syndicated TV and radio, but critics have questioned the company’s ability to stay relevant.
At the end of October, the Taxpayers’ Alliance accused the BBC of not being fit for the “21st century broadcasting market” in its current form.
In a statement, they said: “A smaller state-funded BBC – producing output focused on high culture and serious news – appeals to many. Yet this is not what the BBC has been for some time.
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“Licence fee money is used to allow the BBC to compete in the commercial market, eliminate local media outlets through its regional stations, and chase a youth audience which is rapidly turning away from traditional public service broadcasters to services such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube.
“In the age of streaming, it’s ridiculous that we have two publicly-owned broadcasters.
“The Chancellor should use the upcoming budget to unshackle these media giants from the taxpayer and let them stand on their own two feet.
“That will benefit not just the public and taxpayers, but the broadcasters themselves.”
Do you agree? Let us know.
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