The Independent has revealed that Prince Charles demands a set of pre-conditions before giving television interviews. These include advance knowledge of questions, the right to monitor the editing process and also the right to block any unapproved broadcast.
The heir to the throne expects broadcasters to sign a 15-page contract in advance of any interview, reports the Independent’s Ian Burrell.
A plan to interview the prince in Paris on Sunday by Jon Snow for Channel 4 News was cancelled because the programme’s producers refused to agree to the conditions.
Other broadcasters appear to have agreed to his extraordinary list of draconian conditions in order to secure interviews with him. The contract amounts to a form of censorship.
The Indy cites one unnamed source as saying that the degree of news control was reminiscent of North Korea. It will add, says the paper, “to controversy surrounding Prince Charles’s attempts to influence national debate.”
It reminds readers of Charles’s “black spider” memos to ministers in which he sought to influence political decisions. These were finally published in June this year following a 10-year freedom of information battle by the Guardian.
Now, with the revelation of the prince’s “access agreement” for broadcasters, comes further evidence of the way in which he seeks to avoid media accountability for his views.
He clearly wishes to influence public opinion without the scrutiny that other public figures, notably politicians, must face.
This is another unforeseen consequence of Prince Charles’s novel and dangerous invention of an activist monarchy. He hasn’t really thought it through, has he?