The Sun newspaper was not acting in the public interest when it published naked photographs of Prince Harry, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.
The minister said "personally" he could not see a justification for printing the controversial images.
But he insisted that newspaper editors had to be free to make decisions on such issues.
The comments came as Rupert Murdoch defended The Sun's move, posting on Twitter: "Needed to demonstrate no such thing as free press in the UK. Internet makes mockery of these issues."
Speaking to BBC News, Mr Hunt said: "Personally I cannot see what the public interest was in publishing those.
"But we have a free press and I don't think it is right for politicians to tell newspaper editors what they can and cannot publish. That must be a matter for the newspaper editors.
"I just hope that people won't remember this, but they will remember the amazing good work that Prince Harry has done."
The Sun has gone were almost no other British newspaper would and published naked photos of Prince Harry in defiance of St James's Palace.
The decision by the UK press not to publish naked pictures of Prince Harry has sparked a media debate about the way the story was handled.
British newspapers have not published naked pictures of Prince Harry in Las Vegas after a plea from the Palace.