Has Leveson prompted UK caution on nude Harry pics?

The UK press has so far withheld from running pictures of Prince Harry apparently cavorting naked in a hotel room with a young woman in Las Vegas – despite them being widely available on US websites.

Clarence House has also reportedly confirmed the authenticity of the photographs, in which the third in line to the throne is seen wearing just a necklace and a wristband with his hands around his genitals, while a topless woman stands behind him.

In the second photograph he is seen bear-hugging a naked woman from behind.

The pictures were first published by US celebrity website TMZ.com, which said they were taken while the prince was playing "strip billiards" during a party at his VIP suite at the five-star Wynn hotel in Vegas.

While several UK websites have run stories on the pictures this morning none have so reproduced the pictures, though several have linked to the original TMZ piece.

Clause 3 of the PCC's Editors' Code of Practice states that is 'unacceptable to photograph individuals in private places without their consent". Private places are defined as 'public or private property where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy".

The UK civil law of privacy applies a similar test.

Former News of the World features editor Jules Stenson said on Twitter that the pictures were a 'huge test'for the press and the Palace post-Leveson Inquiry, saying there was a 'clear expectation of privacy in a hotel room".

He added: 'But how can press not run Harry pix when all over the net? If real, Harry security risk – blackmail target. public interest in their exposure."

Former News of the World editor Neil Wallis tweeted: '#Harrypix perfect example of how #Leveson has cowed our media. He must be so proud. Rest of world discussing pix no-one dares show you here."

The News of the World's former showbiz editor Dan Wooton, who now works for the Daily Mail and Now magazine, tweeted: 'We're in the crazy situation where millions of people in UK will see Harry nude pics online, but UK newspapers might be unable to print them."

Royal commentator Robert Jobson asked: 'Are we back to the good old bad old days of Edward and Mrs Simpson when whole world reported on affair but not the UK?"

Paul Staines, the man behind the Guido Fawkes blog, claims to be the only UK-based media to have run the pictures.

In a blog post showing the pictures he wrote: 'This situation illustrates the threat to a free press in Britain. The truth is the old media have been scared into submission by the Leveson Inquiry.

'This is the third in line to the throne, the son of Prince Charles and one of the biggest names in British public life. Yet not one British newspaper is reporting the story with pictures. Nevertheless everyone in Britain will be searching online for these pictures and will find them regardless.

'The old rules won't work in the internet age. Fortunately for this blog's readers, Guido doesn't care what Brian says…"

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