Medicine And The Media

Di braves minefield

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 25 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:312
  1. Vivienne Nathanson, head of BMA's professional resources and research group

    The British press give landmines attention when royalty is involved

    For five days the British media were full of pictures from Angola of Diana, Princess of Wales, as she visited hospitals, rehabilitation centres, and other sites showing the devastation caused by antipersonnel landmines in that war ravaged country.

    The Princess is a magnet for the British media. She is considered newsworthy regardless of the occasion, and her picture on the cover is said to increase the sales of most magazines. Her picture, associated with the tragic results of mines in Angola, has brought landmines to the notice of an audience which would never otherwise have seen them.

    Would the pictures and reports of her visit have occupied the front pages of the papers, and prime slots in television news programmes, had an unnamed government minister (possibly Earl Howe) not criticised her for entering the forbidden field of party politics? His comments over lunch with journalists–published in the Daily Telegraph: “Lord Howe made clear that senior defence figures were ‘angered’ by the Princess's backing for the …

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