Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt says The Sun was not acting in the public interest by publishing naked Prince Harry photographs
The Sun was not acting in the public interest when it published embarrassing photographs of Prince Harry, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said today.
The minister said "personally" he could not see a justification for printing the controversial images.
But he insisted that newspaper editors had to be free to make decisions on such issues.
The comments came as Rupert Murdoch defended The Sun's move, posting on Twitter: "Needed to demonstrate no such thing as free press in the UK. Internet makes mockery of these issues."
The News Corporation boss also urged people to give Harry "a break". "He may be on the public payroll one way or another, but the public loves him, even to enjoy Las Vegas," Mr Murdoch wrote.
Speaking to BBC News this morning, Mr Hunt said: "Personally I cannot see what the public interest was in publishing those.
"But we have a free press and I don't think it is right for politicians to tell newspaper editors what they can and cannot publish. That must be a matter for the newspaper editors.
"I just hope that people won't remember this, but they will remember the amazing good work that Prince Harry has done."
Mr Hunt added: "We can agree with what someone like Mr Murdoch does or you can disagree with it.
"But in the end that is not for politicians to tell editors what to publish...
"As I understand it even Buckingham Palace have said that editors have a right to publish what they want to and that is a matter for editors."
The Sun argued that printing the images was in the public interest and a "crucial" test of the country's free press.
It has been reported that Mr Murdoch also wanted to fire a warning shot at Lord Justice Leveson, the man leading the inquiry into press standards in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. News International has refused to comment on the speculation.
But Mr Hunt said: "Nothing that Lord Justice Leveson is going to come back with is going to threaten or undermine the functioning of a free press."
- 1 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 2 'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
- 3 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 4 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
- 5 YouTube social experiment shows just how easy it is to kidnap a child
How the language you speak changes your view of the world
'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
First-time buyers in London 'need to earn at least £77,000'
General Election 2015: Photographic history of Bullingdon Club tracked down - including new picture of David Cameron in his finery
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...
£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...