Fifteen years after the death of Princess Diana, which many blamed on the paparazzi, celebrities still complain of harassment and out and out bullying by the paparazzi. However, Diana's death did change the way some paparazzi conduct themselves.
Princess Diana was killed in a car wreck when the black Mercedes she was riding in crashed in a Paris tunnel. Immediately, mourners around the world blamed the paparazzi, photographers that had been chasing the car trying to get a photo of the princess. Since that time, a change in some laws as well as the attitude of some paparazzi photographers can be directly linked to Diana's death.
TodaysTHV quotes Niraj Tanna, a member of the 'Royal Beat' paparazzi as saying "No-one's life's worth risking for a picture. Full stop. We are in a better place now. I mean, we have guidelines which we have to abide by, we can't follow them, chase them, or run after them, or do any of that sort of stuff, so, in that sense it is a safer place for celebrities, royalty, or whoever concerned."
The Press Complaints Commission, a self-regulatory commission for press in the UK, code of practice added a clause which states:
i) Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.
ii) They must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing or photographing individuals once asked to desist; nor remain on their property when asked to leave and must not follow them. If requested, they must identify themselves and whom they represent.
The Alma tunnel in Paris, where Princess Diana died
This clause was not a part of the code of practice prior to Diana's death.
In 2010 California ratified AB 2479, a law aimed at stopping paparazzi from pursuing celebrities, is being used to prosecute a member of the paparazzi who pursued Justin Bieber according to USNews. The Los Angeles Attorney General issued a statement saying "City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich today announced that his Office has filed criminal charges against a freelance paparazzo for his involvement in a high-speed freeway chase in order to get celebrity photographs. Deputy City Attorneys Debra Siedorf and Patrick Hiscocks are prosecuting the case. Paul Raef, 30, a self-employed freelance paparazzo, was charged with the following four charges: two counts of Vehicle Code section 40008 (a), for both following another vehicle too closely and reckless driving, with the intent to capture pictures for commercial gain; one count of reckless driving; and one count of failing to obey the lawful order of a peace officer. If convicted, Defendant Raef could face up to one year in the county jail and fines totaling$3,500."
Since Diana's tragic death, changes in laws and attitudes have evolved. There will always be those who will disregard these and other laws, or put the potential of their own personal gain ahead of the safety or well being of others. However, hopefully a new generation of paparazzi will continue to emerge from the tragedy and others will not have to experience the pain William, Harry, the royal family and the world endured when Diana's life was cut short 15 years ago in a Paris tunnel.