A press regulator has rejected Prince Harry’s complaint against the Mail on Sunday after he claimed it had misled readers about his Instagram photos.
The Duke of Sussex, who is also set to take the paper to court over its publication of Meghan Markle’s letter to her father last year , complained to IPSO that its April 2019 article called “Drugged and tethered... what Harry didn’t tell you about those awe-inspiring wildlife photos” was inaccurate.
The piece reported on wildlife pictures uploaded to Harry’s Instagram account, which, the newspaper said, “don’t quite tell the full story” and “avoided explaining the circumstances in which the images were taken”.
It said a picture of an elephant had been edited so that viewers could not see the animal had its hind legs roped.
The paper reported that sources had denied the picture was deliberately edited to crop out the tethering.
Prince Harry complained to IPSO that the article was inaccurate because, by reporting the account had not clearly stated that the elephant had been tethered and other animals in the images had been tranquillised, the paper had suggested the duke was intentionally misleading the public into thinking he was a superior wildlife photographer capable of capturing pictures in dangerous circumstances.
He told IPSO he had uploaded the photos to promote awareness of Earth Day, not to show off his talent as a photographer, and that the caption had made it clear the animals were being relocated in a conservation effort.
Harry said he had not misled the public, adding that the full uncropped image has been publicly available since 2016 and was uploaded to the Royal Family website.
The Instagram post had a link to the organisation which organised the conservation effort, and that organisation had explainers about the tranquillising and tethering process, Prince Harry said.
He added that the elephant image was cropped to fit Instagram’s settings.
The Mail on Sunday denied the article was inaccurate, and pointed to the duke not taking the opportunity to explain the circumstances behind the photo despite having the opportunity to on Instagram.
IPSO’s report, published on Thursday, said: “The publication said that the (Harry’s) followers could not be expected to have been aware of the explanation provided by (Harry) three years ago at the time of the publication of the photographs in 2016 or of the content of an entirely separate website; it was not misleading to report that the complainant had not told his 5.6 million Instagram followers about the circumstances in which the photographs had been taken or the ‘whole story’.”
The Mail on Sunday also disputed the claim the image had to be cropped and added that it had included the duke’s explanation for the cropping.
IPSO found that there was no inaccuracy and did not uphold the duke’s complaint.
IPSO’s findings state: “In these circumstances, (IPSO) 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 and that the complainant had not explained the circumstances in which the photographs had been taken.”