Caroline II: Entertainment press – Government Information Service 1-1

Caroline von Hannover greatly values her privacy. The Princess of Monaco took action before the highest European court to ensure that her privacy would be better protected against paparazzi. In the ruling Caroline I, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that celebrities  may have a reasonable expectation of their privacy if they are not performing official duties, even if they are in the public space. Public privacy.
Our own Government Information Service thought,  great! and shortly after Caroline I issued a media code. This states that members of the Royal Family “may rely on the fact that they will be left in peace at times that they are not appearing in their official capacities”. Briefly put: a photo of princess Maxima in the wild is a no-go. The media code assumes an absolute right to public privacy. Members of the press who do not adhere to it will not be invited to “press moments”.
There was a follow-up: Caroline II. Caroline invoked Caroline I to fight publication of photos of her skiing holiday. In Caroline II, the Court clarified that famous persons do not have an absolute right to public privacy. Attention in the press for the private lives of celebrities is permitted if it serves a general interest and is reasonably commensurate with the privacy of the person in question. A weighing up of interests, therefore. Caroline was unsuccessful. The photos showed how Caroline went on holidays while her father Prince Rainier III was suffering from a serious illness. This was considered newsworthy.
Back to the media code: the Caroline II ruling sent the Government Information Service back to the drawing board. Not allowing members of the press to attend press moments was already contrary to freedom of speech. This not only entails the right to express information but also the right to receive information. Even the entertainment press has freedom of access to information.
Daniël Haije


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