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Europe

Paparazzi Ruling Could Restrict German Tabloids

Princess Caroline of Monaco won her case against German tabloids at the European Court of Human Rights. It ruled that freedom of the press in Germany was wrongly taking precedence over the private lives of celebrities.

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Princess Caroline fought an 11-year battle with the paparazzi.

The decision by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg means German tabloids and celebrity gossip magazines could have to make do with far fewer paparazzi photos in their pages in the future.

The court's verdict in the case, which was brought by Princess Caroline, was essentially a judgment on the German media, which the court ruled shows a lack of respect for the private spheres of public people.

Caroline, who is married to Germany's Ernst August Prince of Hanover, first filed the lawsuit in 1993 when several German publications printed paparazzi photos showing her sunbathing, cycling and shopping.

The court said the public has no legitimate interest in knowing where Caroline goes on her vacations or what she does in her private life.

Earlier decision overruled

The decision goes against a 1999 decision in the same case before Germany's Constitutional Court, which ruled that, as a "person of contemporary history," Caroline would have to accept that photos of her in publicly accessible places could be published without her permission.

But the judges in Strasbourg said the German verdict contradicted the right to respect for private and family life, anchored in the European Convention on Human Rights.

According to legal experts, the decision will have a wide-reaching impact on the German media landscape, as there will now be basic restrictions on the right to publish photos of celebrities.

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