TV will air Diana photos


Summary

Channel 4 plans to show the documentary Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel tomorrow.

Royal officials said in a statement that they had written to Channel 4 asking them on behalf of the princes not to broadcast pictures taken after the crash in a Paris underpass on the night of August 31, 1997.

VIDEO: Princes protest

"The princes reluctantly feel that they have been left no choice but to make it clear publicly that they believe the broadcast of these photographs to be wholly inappropriate, deeply distressing to them and to the relatives of the others who died that night, and a gross disrespect to their mother's memory," said a statement by Clarence House, Prince Charles' official residence.

Officials said their private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, had asked for a response from Channel 4 by Monday morning but had not received one.

As a result, they had made their views public.

'Acute distress'

They also took the unusual step of publishing Lowther-Pinkerton's letter to Channel 4.

In it, he wrote: "If it were your or my mother dying in that tunnel, would we want the scene broadcast to the nation? Indeed, would the nation so want it".

He asked for a shot of an ambulance inside which a paramedic was "clearly" administering emergency treatment to an unseen Diana to be pulled from the program, saying it would cause the princes "acute distress".

In response to the Clarence House statement, Channel 4 said it had "weighed the princes' concerns against the legitimate public interest" in discovering what happened in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

"Channel 4 acknowledges the concerns expressed by the Princes William and Harry about the documentary," said Channel 4 boss Julian Bellamy.

"We would like to make clear that it was not our intention in commissioning this program to cause them distress and we do not believe it is in any way disrespectful to the memory of Princess Diana."

The photos and interviews provided "the most detailed and credible eyewitness account yet delivered" of the crash, he added, while underlining that no images of the victims of the crash are shown.

The program was made by ITN Factual, whose parent company ITN defended it as a "sober" presentation of the events surrounding Diana's death.

Meanwhile, Paris-based photographers Fabrice Chassery and David Ker said they were "categorically opposed" to the broadcast.

They said in a statement they had been repeatedly contacted by Channel Four and had refused them permission to use any of the photos they had taken at the crash site.

They claimed that one photo of an unconscious Diana being treated by a doctor was "illegally taken" from a prosecution file after Dodi Fayed's father Mohammed began legal proceedings against those who took pictures of Diana and his son after the crash, although did not say by whom.

But they said that because legal proceedings were still ongoing, they faced "great difficulty in preventing the totally illegal circulation" of the photos.

News agency AFP contacted Channel Four with the photographers' claims but there was no immediate response.


Channel 4 plans to show the documentary Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel tomorrow.

Royal officials said in a statement that they had written to Channel 4 asking them on behalf of the princes not to broadcast pictures taken after the crash in a Paris underpass on the night of August 31, 1997.

VIDEO: Princes protest

"The princes reluctantly feel that they have been left no choice but to make it clear publicly that they believe the broadcast of these photographs to be wholly inappropriate, deeply distressing to them and to the relatives of the others who died that night, and a gross disrespect to their mother's memory," said a statement by Clarence House, Prince Charles' official residence.

Officials said their private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, had asked for a response from Channel 4 by Monday morning but had not received one.

As a result, they had made their views public.

'Acute distress'

They also took the unusual step of publishing Lowther-Pinkerton's letter to Channel 4.

In it, he wrote: "If it were your or my mother dying in that tunnel, would we want the scene broadcast to the nation? Indeed, would the nation so want it".

He asked for a shot of an ambulance inside which a paramedic was "clearly" administering emergency treatment to an unseen Diana to be pulled from the program, saying it would cause the princes "acute distress".

In response to the Clarence House statement, Channel 4 said it had "weighed the princes' concerns against the legitimate public interest" in discovering what happened in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

"Channel 4 acknowledges the concerns expressed by the Princes William and Harry about the documentary," said Channel 4 boss Julian Bellamy.

"We would like to make clear that it was not our intention in commissioning this program to cause them distress and we do not believe it is in any way disrespectful to the memory of Princess Diana."

The photos and interviews provided "the most detailed and credible eyewitness account yet delivered" of the crash, he added, while underlining that no images of the victims of the crash are shown.

The program was made by ITN Factual, whose parent company ITN defended it as a "sober" presentation of the events surrounding Diana's death.

Meanwhile, Paris-based photographers Fabrice Chassery and David Ker said they were "categorically opposed" to the broadcast.

They said in a statement they had been repeatedly contacted by Channel Four and had refused them permission to use any of the photos they had taken at the crash site.

They claimed that one photo of an unconscious Diana being treated by a doctor was "illegally taken" from a prosecution file after Dodi Fayed's father Mohammed began legal proceedings against those who took pictures of Diana and his son after the crash, although did not say by whom.

But they said that because legal proceedings were still ongoing, they faced "great difficulty in preventing the totally illegal circulation" of the photos.

News agency AFP contacted Channel Four with the photographers' claims but there was no immediate response.