Kate Middleton: has the media gone too far?

Princess Kate, the most popular member of the British royal family, recently triggered uproar on social media with her own PR. After undergoing abdominal surgery in January she had barely appeared in public, fuelling wild speculation about her condition, which only intensified after she had a digitally altered photo published at the beginning of March. Now the princess has announced that she is being treated for cancer.

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Irish Examiner (IE) /

We are all paparazzi now

It is no longer just the tabloids that go too far, says the Irish Examiner:

“It was 30 years ago at the height of the intrusion that would eventually lead to the death of the previous Princess of Wales in a Paris underpass that Britain's press regulator warned of the dangers of journalists 'dabbling their fingers in the stuff of other people's souls.' ... Since then, with the ubiquity of phone cameras and the internet, we have become an even more intrusive society, one in which people may sometimes think twice about posting pictures of their own relatives online, but seek no permission at all to exploit the images of others. In this circumstance, the fervour around Kate's 'disappearance' was led by ordinary citizens on social media, as much as the media. We are all paparazzi now.”

Visão (PT) /

Not journalism's finest hour

Visão is self-critical:

“For days, viral content that the mainstream media should have ignored was circulated on social networks. But we didn't ignore it. Suddenly, it's no longer only the tabloids that are cannibalising the lives of celebrities, but all the media feel that they have to at least somehow reference it so as not to miss out on the clickbait bandwagon. The problem is that all too often we forget that behind the need for an online audience are real people with real lives and real problems. ... When did we all as a society lose the basic notion of respect and respect for people's privacy?”

The Times (GB) /

Trapped in a trade-off

The Times says Kate Middleton was coerced into a trade-off:

“The royals used to have a contract with the public: we pay for them, and in return they give us their presence. Nearly all of their official job is to do with surface: to show up, to put in appearances at a set number of functions, whether at the opening of parliament or the opening of a leisure centre. But now parts of the online mob seem to be staging a coup. We want more than the surface, we want to puncture the skin barrier of the royal family, and occupy from the inside. The 'fans' have become an invasive virus. The royal analogy is often that they are trapped in a gilded zoo. This new model, instead, casts the royals more as lab rats.”

hvg (HU) /

A crisis of common sense

The affair turned into a case of harassment, says hvg:

“Perhaps those who commented on the incident didn't even realise the sad irony that a mother of three, still recovering from a serious operation, was being targeted over a Mother's Day photo. An attempt was made to force her to respond through behaviour that bordered on bullying and harassment and then crossed the line. ... Commentators are talking about a crisis of the royal family, but in reality this is a crisis of public opinion and common sense.”