Princess Caroline of Monaco loses battle with German magazine in boost for celebrity media


Europe’s paparazzi and prurient tattlers received a shot in the arm today as Europe’s court of human rights rejected a privacy complaint by Her Royal Highness Princess Caroline of Hanover, a decision that The Associated Press said was one of “two potentially groundbreaking rulings” handed down today that strengthened the media’s rights to report on celebrities.

According to the AP, the princess and her husband, Prince Ernst August von Hanover, had sued, claiming that in 2002 the German women’s magazine Frau im Spiegel had violated their privacy by publishing photographs of the couple taking a ski holiday even as her father Prince Rainier was ill.

More from GlobalPost: Monaco: Another Royal Wedding (PHOTOS)

According to the AP, a German court had initially upheld the magazine’s right to report on how the family balanced “family solidarity” with their private lives. The news agency said the ECtHR had upheld this ruling, finding that “had not provided any evidence that the photos had been taken in a climate of general harassment, as they had alleged, or that they had been taken secretly.”

The Agence France-Presse news agency reported that the European court today also sided with the news media in an appeal brought by the German media group Axel Springer which was sanctioned for an article on a television actor, well known for his role as a policeman, who was arrested for cocaine possession.

More from GlobalPost: World cooking: What does your head of state eat?

The European court found that Axel Springer’s freedom of expression had been infringed upon and ordered the German government to pay damages of over $23,000 as well as $43,000 in legal costs.

According to AFP, the court found that the media may cover celebrities’ private lives if this is “in the general interest and if [it is] in reasonable balance with the right to respect for private life.”

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.