Dutch media hit by 'Charles injunction'

12th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

12 November 2003, AMSTERDAM — Scottish newspapers were not covered by an English court's ban on printing details of allegations about Prince Charles — but two Dutch papers effectively are.

12 November 2003

AMSTERDAM — Scottish newspapers were not covered by an English court's ban on printing details of allegations about Prince Charles — but two Dutch papers effectively are.

Newspaper distributors in the UK are apparently so worried of falling foul of the court ruling that they decided last Saturday not to circulate 16 newspapers from continental Europe, including the two main Dutch dailies, De Telegraaf and De Volkskrant.

News of the distributors' actions was revealed by French paper Le Monde after 7,500 copies of its Tuesday edition were pulped to prevent the British public reading about undisclosed allegations Prince Charles has denied.

The distributors were fastidiously complying with a judge's order obtained by former royal servant Michael Fawcett who wanted to stop the Mail on Sunday newspaper printing allegations about him and Prince Charles.

The allegation come from another former royal servant George Smith who claims he once saw Fawcett in bed with Prince Charles.

Smith previously claimed to police that he was raped by Fawcett while both men worked for Prince Charles, but he later withdrew that allegation.

Despite the court ban obtained over the phone from a judge who was stuck in a traffic jam, few commentators seriously believe that the British public is not aware of the general terms of the latest allegations to engulf their Crown Prince.

Prince Charles instructed a senior member of his staff to deny the unspecified rumours, a move that sparked the media flurry in the UK and around the globe.

For members of the public who might be slow on the uptake, a British tabloid ran a story on 9 November asking: "Is Prince Charles bisexual?"

Nevertheless, the media in England and Wales is banned from publishing the Smith allegations. The foreign press and the media in Scotland are not bound by the injunction. Scotland has a separate legal system.

The media in other countries are also free to print the full details of the unsubstantiated allegations, but most publications have simply said the allegations can not be printed for legal reasons. This in their case is simply incorrect.

Some people in the industry have questioned though whether it serves the cause of accurate and balanced journalism to print stories based on a single questionable source simply because it will boost sales.

Dutch news site Nu.nl reported on Wednesday that this is the first time in living memory that a Dutch newspaper has effectively been banned abroad.

The last time a foreign publication was banned in the Netherlands was in 1956 when German magazine Der Spiegel ran an article about the alleged influence spiritual healer Greet Hofmans had on the then Dutch Monarch, Queen Juliana.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news

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