Media members condemn paparazzi activities
August 31, 1997
Web posted at: 9:39 a.m. EDT (1339 GMT)
(CNN) -- The death of Princess Diana in a Paris car crash,
apparently after being chased by paparazzi, cast a pall over journalism Sunday.
Journalists who spoke on CNN in the hours after the tragedy lashed out at the frenzied photographers who may have played a role in Diana's death, saying their actions contributed to a dark day in journalism.
Some urged that new privacy laws be enacted to curb the paparazzi, or free-lance photographers who stake out celebrities and whose photos command fat royalties. Cover photos of Diana for tabloids have fetched up to $200,000.
"(Diana) has been hounded literally to death," said Andrew
Roberts of the Sunday London Times. "The fact we're hearing
that a man actually took photographs of her dying in the car
shows what scum these people are and how far they actually
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Roberts predicted that British Prime Minister Tony Blair and
his government might try to enact laws in the coming months
to crack down on invasive media.
"We've got laws in this country to stop people from stalking.
But we don't have a law to stop people from shoving camera
lenses into your life constantly," Roberts told CNN.
Other journalists expressed similar disgust.
"What is (troubling) me as a journalist is the role which my
much-maligned profession may have played in her death," said
Sir Bernard Ingham, the press secretary for former British
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. ( 357K/32 sec. AIFF or WAV sound )
"I am afraid that we are going to get a reputation for
hounding people to death."
Doctors said the 36-year-old princess died about four hours
after the crash that also killed her companion, Dodi Fayed,
and their chauffeur.
Seven photographers were in custody, police said. France Info
radio said at least some of the photographers took pictures
before help arrived -- and that one of the photographers was
beaten at the scene by horrified witnesses.
"There will be a
furious debate about the role of the press in Princess
Diana's life over the past 15 years. No doubt a large
majority of the public will take a fairly dim view of the
press activities," said Greg Swift of The Daily Express.
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