BBC pays ‘substantial’ damages to royal nanny over Diana interview

BBC pays ‘substantial’ damages to royal nanny over Diana interview
The explosive BBC 1995 interview saw Princess Diana detail her troubled marriage to Prince Charles. (AFP)
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Updated 21 July 2022

BBC pays ‘substantial’ damages to royal nanny over Diana interview

BBC pays ‘substantial’ damages to royal nanny over Diana interview
  • Alexandra Pettifer, known at the time as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, was also falsely accused of becoming pregnant by Prince Charles and getting an abortion

LONDON: Princes William and Harry’s former nanny on Thursday received substantial damages from the BBC over “false and malicious” claims about her used to obtain a 1995 interview with Princess Diana.
Alexandra Pettifer, known at the time as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, was given a public apology for “fabricated” allegations that she had an affair with the princes’ father, Prince Charles.
The High Court in London was also told that she was falsely accused of becoming pregnant by him when she was his personal assistant and of having an abortion.
Pettifer’s lawyer Louise Prince said the allegations caused “serious personal consequences for all concerned” and her client did not know where they came from.
But she said it was likely that the “false and malicious allegations arose as a result and in the context of BBC Panorama’s efforts to procure an exclusive interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.”
The explosive interview saw Diana detail her troubled marriage to Charles, his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, and how she had also been unfaithful.
Questions were immediately raised about how little-known interviewer Martin Bashir secured Diana’s agreement to take part in the program, which sent shockwaves through the royal family.
It has since emerged that he used subterfuge, including fake documents alleging some of her aides were in the pay of the security services.
Pettifer’s lawyer said the “totally unfounded” claims “appeared to exploit some prior false speculation in the media” about her and Charles.
“After Diana, Princess of Wales, became aware of the allegations in late 1995, she became upset with the claimant without apparent justification,” she added.
Prince said Pettifer “holds the BBC liable for the serious impact the false and malicious allegations have had” which had caused her “25 years of lies, suspicion and upset.”
Pettifer said she was one of many people whose life had been “scarred” by the way the program was made and the BBC’s failure to investigate properly afterwards.
“The distress caused to the royal family is a source of great upset to me,” she added.
“I know first-hand how much they were affected at the time, and how the program and the false narrative it created have haunted the family in the years since.”
BBC director-general Tim Davie confirmed the corporation would pay “substantial damages” to Pettifer and pledged not to show the program again.
He also apologized to her, Charles, William and Harry “for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives.”
The BBC has previously paid damages to Diana’s former aide Patrick Jephson and a graphic designer who blew the whistle on the underhand methods used.


Hia celebrates 30 years of inspiring Arab women with revamp

Hia celebrates 30 years of inspiring Arab women with revamp
Updated 08 December 2022

Hia celebrates 30 years of inspiring Arab women with revamp

Hia celebrates 30 years of inspiring Arab women with revamp
  • The Arabic magazine said the rebranding is the latest milestone for a publication that has championed the role of women and helped to redefine luxury lifestyle in the region
  • The redesign coincides with the second Hia Hub, described as the largest fashion and style conference in the Middle East, which began in Riyadh on Dec. 8 and continues until Dec. 10

LONDON: Hia, the leading Arabic luxury lifestyle magazine, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a brand redesign, a new website, enhanced content and an expansion onto new platforms.

It said the rebranding represents the latest milestone for a publication that has helped to redefine luxury lifestyle and influence the identity of women in the region and beyond.

“For three decades, the magazine has been integral to shaping women’s lifestyles across our region,” said Mai Badr, Hia’s editor-in-chief.

“The new brand has been informed by our readers and will continue to capture audiences across the region. Our new brand identity will continue to lead the way for the pioneering Hia woman of today and tomorrow.”

The new branding was unveiled on Wednesday across Hia’s social media channels and website. The first issue of the revamped print edition will be on sale from Thursday.

Alongside its new website, the magazine — which is owned by the Saudi Research and Media Group, the publisher of Arab News — announced the launch of a podcast and video series exploring premium fashion, beauty, culture and the lifestyles that inspire audiences and celebrate women from the region.

Hia’s core content, which is based around high-end fashion, beauty, culture, health, careers and self-empowerment, will be expanded to include more long-form reads, aspirational stories and insightful interviews with the aim of conveying the diversity and splendor of the Middle East.

“Hia is the leading Arabic luxury lifestyle magazine, championing Arab women for over 30 years,” said Jomana Al-Rashed, the CEO of SRMG. “Today’s brand evolution is designed to reflect the modern Middle Eastern women (who are) Hia’s readers: Discerning women with a sophisticated taste in fashion, beauty and culture.”

Through its groundbreaking interviews with prominent and influential Arab and international dignitaries and celebrities — such as Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, Saudi ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar, and designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana — Hia has been seen as a platform for championing progress and paving the way for the empowerment of Arab women.

Its revamp coincides with the second Hia Hub, described as the largest fashion and style conference in the Middle East, which began in Riyadh on on Dec. 8 and continues until Dec. 10.

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, it includes exhibitions, panel discussions featuring industry leaders, workshops, and masterclasses with experts such as renowned fashion designer Zac Posen, visionary fashion stylist Law Roach, and beauty and makeup artist Mary Phillips.


Disney+ streaming service launches with major advertisers

Disney+ streaming service launches with major advertisers
Updated 08 December 2022

Disney+ streaming service launches with major advertisers

Disney+ streaming service launches with major advertisers
  • The $7.99-a-month with ads version launches amid video streaming industry slowdown

LONDON: The ad-supported version of the Disney+ service launched Thursday, attracting major advertisers from different sectors, bringing in new revenue as Walt Disney Co. strives to push its streaming business into profitability.
Disney Advertising President Rita Ferro said more than 100 brands, from Mattel Inc. to Marriott Hotels & Resorts, are participating in the launch, which Disney has been promoting to marketers and ad buyers since its May.
The company is under pressure to turn a profit on its streaming business, which posted a $1.5 billon loss in the company’s most recent quarter. Investor unhappiness about deepening losses hammered the company’s stock and helped set the stage for the ouster last month of Chief Executive Bob Chapek, and return of longtime Disney leader, Bob Iger.
Advertising introduces a second source of revenue for Disney+, to supplement subscription fees. The company’s other streaming services, Hulu and ESPN+, already have commercials.
A $3-a-month price increase also took effect Dec. 8, bringing the price for the ad-free version of Disney+ to $10.99. Disney+ with ads costs $7.99. Researcher Kantar projects that one out of four Disney+ subscribers could switch to the less-expensive version of the service with advertising.
Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy told investors the company does not expect the advertising-supported tier to have a “meaningful impact” until later in its 2023 fiscal year.
As subscriber growth slows in North America, Netflix similarly introduced commercials to bolster revenue and support its estimated $17 billion annual content spend. Other streaming services, such as HBO Max, Paramount+ and Peacock, also offer ad-supported versions of their streaming services, emulating the business model that has long supported the television business.
Ferro told Reuters that Disney+ will carry four minutes of advertising time per hour, in 15 and 30 second spots, and limit the number of times the same ad will appear over the course of a day or week.
“A brand like Starbucks will have no more than one commercial an hour, no more than two a day,” she said. “We’ve asked advertisers for multiple versions of creative. Even if they air two a day, you won’t see the same ad.”
Disney plans to introduce features that will allow advertisers to target consumers by region, gender and age.


Arab News announces metaverse project for 2023 during annual team gathering

Arab News announces metaverse project for 2023 during annual team gathering
Updated 08 December 2022

Arab News announces metaverse project for 2023 during annual team gathering

Arab News announces metaverse project for 2023 during annual team gathering
  • Multipurpose immersive platform is an opportunity for team, readers

LONDON: Arab News announced the launch of the company’s first metaverse project at its annual team gathering in Dubai.

The AN metaverse, which is scheduled to start next year, is a multipurpose immersive platform that will help the company address some of the challenges presented by working globally, while offering customers new channels to engage with the newspaper.

Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas said: “We are very excited about this internal initiative for two reasons: One, it will really solve a logistical problem for us and create a true virtual newsroom for us where our team members can log in and exchange ideas, notes and visuals in real time, and fully interactively.

“The second reason we are excited is that this is being done by using our own developers and supervision. So, it is an Arab News virtual newsroom built by Arab News for Arab News.”

 

 

The project is part of a larger initiative by the company to continue expanding its digital offerings and give readers new ways to engage with the newspaper and its content.

Head of Digital Transformation Eslam Refaat said: “Our innovation team at Arab News Labs is always on the lookout for new channels and emerging technologies to better serve our customers.

“We feel virtual reality brings a new experience for our viewers that is breathtaking and immersive.

“We can bring them directly to the middle of the event by using live 360 feeds, or we can have them sit in our lounge watching our latest news reports, or catch up with one of our podcasts or shows.

“Our new app will have state-of-the-art technologies and innovative ideas for news and media consumption.

“In addition, for a newsroom that spreads across multiple offices around the world like Arab News’ newsroom, this technology presents a new opportunity to bring the team together in one ‘virtual’ room to bridge the distances and enhance collaboration.

“Our VR app is planned to be launched in 2023 and we are hoping to make it a reference for the media industry. We are very excited about it.”

The project also includes a section with a gallery showcasing historic front pages, prominent exclusive interviews and videos, as well as milestones of the newspaper’s 47-year history.

The project was unveiled during the company’s annual gathering, held at the Sofitel Hotel in Dubai and attended by guests from the Middle East, Japan, US, and Europe.

The three-day event represented an opportunity to reflect on the company’s past year, and gave guests the chance to learn more about future AN initiatives.

It concluded with a gala dinner that recognized the best journalists and their work over 2022.

 


Biden admin tells Supreme Court law protecting social media companies has limits

Biden admin tells Supreme Court law protecting social media companies has limits
Updated 08 December 2022

Biden admin tells Supreme Court law protecting social media companies has limits

Biden admin tells Supreme Court law protecting social media companies has limits
  • Social media companies should be held responsible for user content, President argues

LONDON: The Biden administration argued to the US Supreme Court on Wednesday that social media giants like Google could in some instances have responsibility for user content, adopting a stance that could potentially undermine a federal law shielding companies from liability.
Lawyers for the US Department of Justice made their argument in the high profile lawsuit filed by the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old American citizen killed in 2015 when Islamist militants opened fire on the Paris bistro where she was eating.
The family argued that Google was in part liable for Gonzalez’ death because YouTube, which is owned by the tech giant, essentially recommended videos by the Daesh group to some users through its algorithms. Google and YouTube are part of Alphabet Inc.
The case reached the Supreme Court after the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Google, saying they were protected from such claims because of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.
Section 230 holds that social media companies cannot be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by other users.
The law has been sharply criticized across the political spectrum. Democrats claim it gives social media companies a pass for spreading hate speech and misinformation.
Republicans say it allows censorship of voices on the right and other politically unpopular opinions, pointing to decisions by Facebook and Twitter to ban dissemination of a New York Post article about the son of then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s adult son, Hunter, in October 2020.
The Biden administration, in its filing to the Supreme Court, did not argue that Google should be held liable in the Gonzalez case and voiced strong support for most of Section 230’s protections of social media companies.
But the DOJ lawyers said that algorithms used by YouTube and other providers should be subject to a different kind of scrutiny. They called for the Supreme Court to return the case to the 9th Circuit for further review.
Attorneys for Google could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night.


Twitter to hike Blue pricing to $11 for iPhone app users

Twitter to hike Blue pricing to $11 for iPhone app users
Updated 08 December 2022

Twitter to hike Blue pricing to $11 for iPhone app users

Twitter to hike Blue pricing to $11 for iPhone app users
  • Move believed to be a pushback against the 30 percent commission that Apple takes on any payments made through its operating system

LONDON: Twitter Inc. plans to change the pricing of its Twitter Blue subscription product to $11, from $7.99, if paid for through its iPhone app and to $7 if paid for on the website, the Information reported on Wednesday, citing a person briefed on the plans.
The move was likely a pushback against Apple Inc’s 30 percent cut on any payments made by users via apps on the iOS operating system, the report said.
The lower pricing on the website was also likely to drive more users to that platform as opposed to signing up on their iPhones, the report said. It did not mention whether pricing would change for the Android platform as well.
Musk, who took ownership of Twitter in October, is planning to roll out the micro blogging site’s verified service with different colored checks for individuals, companies and governments, after a botched initial launch led to a surge in users impersonating celebrities and brands on the platform.
Twitter, Apple and Google, which owns the Android operating system, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Musk, in a series of tweets last week listed various grievances with Apple, including the 30 percent fee the iphone maker charges software developers for in-app purchases.
He also posted a meme suggesting he was willing to “go to war” with Apple rather than paying the commission.
Musk later met Apple chief executive Tim Cook at the company’s headquarters and later tweeted that the misunderstanding about Twitter being removed from Apple’s app store was resolved.