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The Drum Digital Transformation Festival launch

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Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

The British press shouldn't have gagged on the Harry pictures

The whole country, nay the whole world, was talking about it: those TMZ pictures of Prince Harry cavorting naked at a party in a Las Vegas hotel suite.

How the New York Daily News website reported the TMZ scoop

But the great British public had yet to see what it was all about in a British newspaper . The Daily Mail called it "farcical" . The Mirror cried out "censorship" and called the situation "ludicrous."

But, cowed by Leveson, fear of what's to come and all the scandal emanating out of the phone-hacking affair, not one UK paper had the balls - pardon the phrase - to let its readers see the most-discussed pictures of the year. Until now.

Hugh Cudlipp would have said , "Publish and be Damned."

And before this morning, The Sun had the best stab at it recreating the photos in a Page 1 spoof. Today the Sun gives you the real pictures and explains the about-turn.

The collective decision not to publish brought to mind the 1930s Fleet Street conspiracy to keep Edward VIII's squalid affair with the married Wallis Simpson from the eyes of the British public , although the rest of the world knew all about it .

And of course, the infamous Times decision to keep the foul misdeeds of Adolf Hitler from the eyes of its readers in the run-up to the Second World War. Thank God for Winston Churchill.

Decisions not to publish, despite the self-evident news value, are always bad decisions. We should be able to rely on our newspapers to tell us like it is .

The Harry pictures are silly - and harmless. Readers would soon have spotted that - if they had been allowed to.Yes, Harry's privacy was impinged (He should have thought of that) . But keeping the pictures out of sight let the imagination run riot.

The pictures do not in fact puncture the bubble of royalty worship we've been going through for the past few years. In fact the world rather likes Harry, and is probably unsurprised that he takes off his clothes from time to time and even has sex (perish the thought).

His minders however need to be sacked. American reports says they were in the room and one, seeing a girl taking pictures with a cell phone, said, 'No photos." He didn't however take the phone from her. The pictures according to the Telegraph were sold for £10,000.

Colin Myler, ex-editor of the News of the World, is now editor of the New York Daily News which boldly published the pictures on its website. We asked Colin if he would have published them in the News of the World and await his reply.

Piers Morgan, ex-Mirror and News of the World editor, was said to be planning to give the person who sold the pix to TMZ his "Gutless Little Twerp" award , named in honour of Congressman Akin, who failed to appear on Piers's show earlier this week to defend his clueless remarks on rape .

During the day, Piers tweeted,"I'm shocked and disgusted by the Prince Harry party photos in Vegas. Why the hell wasn't I invited???'

I hope Piers tells us if, as Mirror editor, he would have published the Harry pictures. We're waiting for that answer, too.

Congrats to The Sun on finally biting the bullet.

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