Friday, August 28, 2009

UPDATED: Well, Kiss my Royal Wooden Shoes!

UPDATED (Update below)


Pictures of the Dutch crown prince Willem-Alexander and his family on vacation in Argentina can no longer be distributed by the Associated Press, the Amsterdam district court ruled on Friday.

The US press agency last month released four shots of Willem-Alexander, princess Maximá and one of their three daughters while they were on a ski vacation in Argentina. The court ruled this has put "an unacceptable pressure" on their family life.

"They should not have to constantly be prepared that private photographs will be offered to media," the court ruled. Only if the images have news value or contribute to the public debate about a social topic, can an exception be made, it said.

AP had argued that it should be able to distribute photos of a public figure made in a public place, claiming the images were taken from a "respectful" distance" and outside the Netherlands.

Dutch media have agreed to a so-called media code, which says that only pictures of Willem-Alexander and Maximá taken while they are "in function" may be published. In exchange, the royals regularly pose for pre-arranged "photo ops".

Several Dutch newspapers published the AP photos. Dutch public broadcaster NOS said it only showed the pictures after they had become a topic of public debate in their own right.


From CBS News, Associated Press filed report. AP statement embedded in the report:

The AP expressed disappointment and said it would "review this ruling with its counsel and evaluate appropriate next steps."
In its response, the AP said it believed the decision "failed to give due weight to the importance of freedom of information in a democratic society, particularly with respect to the public actions of public officials and public figures."

In a statement from its New York headquarters, AP said the ruling "would have the unfortunate effect of unduly restraining the exercise of freedom of information globally, and seeks to create a real risk that the public might be kept in the dark in relation to activities about which it has a right to know.

"The decision also seeks to impose an undue and unprecedented burden on a global news operation like the Associated Press and fails to recognize that individual publishers make the actual and final determination whether publication of particular information is justified within any given jurisdiction," it said.

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