Friday, April 23, 2004

Family 'shocked' by CBS' photos of Diana

The Associated Press

Princess Diana's family said Thursday they were "sickened" by CBS-TV's broadcast of photos of the dying princess taken moments after the crash that killed her.

Two black-and-white photos were shown on Wednesday night's 48 Hours Investigates program. They were taken by paparazzi at the scene of the Aug, 31, 1997, accident in Paris that also killed Diana's companion, Dodi Fayed, and chauffeur Henri Paul.

The U.S. network insisted the pictures - which showed an unconscious Diana being treated by a doctor as she lay slumped in the back of a car in the Alma road tunnel - were not graphic or exploitative.

The pictures were shown in context of an interview with the doctor who first treated Diana at the scene, and illustrated his comments about her condition at the time, CBS spokeswoman Sandra Genelius said.

"We stand by the report," she said Thursday.

Earlier, the family of Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, issued this statement: "Lord Spencer and his family are shocked and sickened by CBS' actions."

Fayed's father, Mohamed al Fayed, said CBS behaved in "disgraceful and insensitive" manner.

CBS doesn't care about "the appalling effect of showing images of murder victims," said Fayed, who has long insisted that Diana and his son were murdered. A lengthy French investigation concluded the crash was an accident and blamed Paul for speeding and drunken driving.

Clarence House, the office of Diana's former husband, Prince Charles, and her two sons, declined to comment.

CBS said the pictures were included in a confidential French investigators' file on the accident. No major media outlet had previously run pictures of the injured princess .

The Guardian newspaper said CBS had decided to "plumb new depths of prurience in the Princess Diana industry."

Britain's tabloid newspapers gave the story prominent, outraged coverage. "Fury at TV photo of dying Diana," the Daily Mail said.

"U.S. TV shows Diana dying," ran a front-page headline in the Daily Mirror. In an editorial, the paper said showing the "vile images" had been "horribly offensive."

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