Prince Harry has lost after he made a complaint against the Mail on Sunday over an article criticising his wildlife photos.
The Duke of Sussex shared a photo he took with an elephant to the Sussex Royal Instagram page to mark Earth Day.
Afterwards, the Mail on Sunday published an article headlined “Drugged and tethered… what Harry didn’t tell you about those awe-inspiring wildlife photos.”
The photo the publication shared was a fuller one that showed the elephant was tethered. The article claimed that the “pictures … don’t quite tell the full story” and said the duke had “notably avoided explaining the circumstances in which the images were taken”.
The animals had been tranquillised and the elephant had also been tethered as they were being relocated as part of conservation projects.
The newspaper reported that followers of Harry’s Sussexroyal Instagram account were unable to see a rope around the hind legs of the elephant because of the way the picture was edited.
In reaction to the article, Harry complained to the Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO) that the article was inaccurate because it had implied he had deliberately misled the public by cropping the elephant picture. He said the newspaper breached a clause of the Editors’ Code of Practice relating to “accuracy” in the article which was published on 28 April last year.
Harry argued the full uncropped photograph had been published on the Royal Family website in 2016 and has been publicly available ever since. He also said it was published on the website of the organisation which organised the conservation work, which featured a description and a video of the tranquilising and tethering process. His Instagram post had also linked back to the website, the duke said.
But the Independent Press Standards Organisation determined there was no breach of the code.
In a summary of its findings, Ipso said: “The Committee considered that it was not clear from the images themselves that the animals had been tranquilised and tethered.
‘The photograph of the elephant had been cropped to edit out the animal’s tethered leg; the publication had demonstrated that the photograph could have been edited differently and the complainant accepted that the album could have been uploaded in a different format which would have made editing the photograph unnecessary.
“The accompanying caption did not make the position clear or that the images had previously been published, unedited, in 2016.
“The position was not made clear simply as a result of the inclusion of the link to the website.
“In these circumstances, 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.”
They also said the article focused on Harry’s “publicly available Instagram posts and the information they displayed”, and therefore it wasn’t necessary for the newspaper to contact him for comment.
“Nevertheless, the publication had included the complainant’s denial that he had deliberately edited out the tether on the image of the elephant,” Ipso said. “There was no failure to take care not to publish inaccurate information.”
Both Harry and Meghan announced they would be taking legal action against the press at the end of their tour of southern Africa. Meghan Markle is suing the Mail on Sunday after it published one of her private letters to her father, Thomas Markle.
Days after confirming his wife’s legal case, Prince Harry announced he would take legal action against the owners of the Sun, the defunct News of the World, and the Daily Mirror, in relation to alleged phone-hacking.