In royal photo scandal, some see Murdoch message

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Aug. 26, 2012, 4:37 p.m. |

This is a Saturday March 10, 2012 file photo of Britain's Prince Harry, smiling after playing rugby at Flamengo's beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photographs of a naked Prince Harry in a Las Vegas hotel room have popped up online. A celebrity gossip site published two pictures of the 27-year-old royal cavorting with what they called a mystery woman in a VIP suite. Prince Harry's office confirmed Wednesday Aug. 22. 2012 that the photos were of the prince but declined to make any further comment
© AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File

The Sun newspaper's decision to run photographs of a naked Prince Harry cavorting in his Las Vegas hotel room defied the royal family and prompted a flood of complaints, but some say the nude photos also had a message from proprietor Rupert Murdoch to Britain's establishment: I can still shake things up.

The top-selling tabloid framed the decision as a defense of press freedom, but some observers see it as a warning shot fired by Murdoch against British officialdom, which has largely turned its back on the Australian mogul's scandal-tainted media empire.

The Independent on Sunday carried a front page story alleging that Murdoch personally ordered the paper to run the photos.

News International, the British newspaper unit of Murdoch's News Corp., has declined to comment.

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