Press Freedom

From the moment she stepped foot outside, Princess Diana of Whales had camera lenses and microphones pushed in her face. She was constantly pursued and for this reason she sometimes had to hide or disguise herself in order to avoid the unyielding persistence and constant harassment of the press. Eugene Robinson, a journalist in England said, "For the tabloids, day in and day out, no story is bigger than the royal family. All the tabloids employ royal-watching reporters, some of whom have become celebrities in their own right. The story of Princess Diana of Whales was the biggest story of all." (Sabjan, 1998) Princess Diana could not even stay out of the public eye when she was behind the walls of the royal estate. The press broke the story of her failing marriage, her intercepted phone conversation with a male friend, and finally her new relationship. The Princess often complained about the coverage, saying "Any sane person would have left (Britain) long ago." (Sabjan, 1998) But with an abundant amount of freelance photographers stalking her every move upon her leaving Kensington Palace, that idea proved impossible. Pushed almost to the edge by constant press harassment, Princess Diana was ready to consider making an attempt to avoid the public altogether. During her last interview, Princess Diana told writer Richard Kay that she was "Going to complete her obligations to her charities and then completely withdraw from her formal public life." (Sabjan, 1998) The public had forced itself into the life of a celebrity and caused the pressure from the media to become overwhelming. Princess Diana did stay in England, however, and used the incredible amounts of media attention to her advantage. Princess Diana had numerous charities and good causes that were important to her so she used the press to promote them, all the while helping to shape her own image. Unfortunately, in the case of Princess Diana, the press and their use of aggressive tactics resulted in a tragedy. Princess Diana and her friend Dodi Al-Fayed had just left the Ritz Hotel in Paris, France, late Saturday night, August 30, 1997. Sending a regular chauffeur and limousine ahead as a decoy, Princess Diana and Al-Fayed left out of a different hotel entrance and entered a Mercedes S-280 driven by Henri Paul. Some photographers saw this, and began to follow the Mercedes on motorcycles and cars. Henri Paul tried to lose the photographers as he increased the car\'s speed, but the photographers continued to follow, chasing the car through the streets. Eyewitnesses saw the motorcycles swarming the Mercedes as it entered a tunnel traveling over 60 miles per hour. The speed limit in the tunnel was 30 miles per hour. Inside the tunnel, the Mercedes hit a curb, lost control, and slammed into a concrete barrier post, then flipped several times. Dodi Al-Fayed and driver Henri Paul were killed at the scene of the accident. Princess Diana was brought to a hospital where doctors had to open her chest to fix a wound to a major blood vessel. Princess Diana\'s heart was directly massaged for 2 hours, but the doctors were unsuccessful in saving her life. Princess Diana was pronounced dead at the hospital 4 hours after the accident. (Sabjan, 1998) Soon after their deaths, seven of the photographers were arrested, declared by police as manslaughter suspects because they were the reason the car was speeding in the first place. The Princess\' death had a large impact on the United States. She was a public figure that others could model their lives after and she was involved in several charities in the United States. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution grants the press immunity, but several arguments have risen for some type of further regulation. The press has an extensive history that must be observed and understood for an accurate analysis of the problems that face the press today. When the United States Constitution was written in 1787, primary authors James Madison and Alexander Hamilton had to "sell" it to the American people. The Constitution articles were written in newspapers throughout the country. These articles are now collectively known as The Federalist Papers. Without these articles, it is doubtful that the experiment known as The United States would