One of the issues raised in the report was the experience of victims’ families with the media. While some outlets, such as the Manchester Evening News, were singled out for praise, the report included troubling accounts from families and survivors who spoke about negative experiences with the media.
IPSO’s first priority has been to try to establish whether any regulatory action that can be taken to address these accounts.
Many broadcasters, freelancers, agency reporters, international journalists and journalists from mainstream print and digital outlets came to Manchester after the attack. The fact that no publications involved have been identified makes it challenging to provide a rigorous investigative response. Nonetheless, some of the incidents described would constitute grave breaches of the Editors’ Code. IPSO urges anyone with information to share this.
The report recommends the Editors’ Code be reviewed in light of the experiences described by families and consideration be given to developing a new code specifically to cover such events. IPSO says it will discuss this with the Editors’ Code Committee.
Further, IPSO is committing to:
* thoroughly investigate any complaint about conduct by journalists working for or commissioned by an IPSO publisher
* work with the Society of Editors and others in their convening a cross media roundtable to discuss issues raised in the review
* develop an organisational major incident plan that is automatically triggered after any event leading to mass casualties
* produce guidelines for editors and for the public based on the current Editors’ Code covering reporting on major incidents and provide newsroom training and resources
* work with the National Council for the Training of Journalists to address the points raised in the report in future journalism training
* work with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing to support training provided to Family Liaison Officers regarding the media
* work with ACPO to raise the awareness of IPSO Private Advisory Notices and explore whether there is a way of automatically reminding Family Liaison Officers involved in a major incident about how IPSO can help with potential press intrusion
* step up work in liaising with emergency and medical services, professional organisations and other first responders to raise awareness of IPSO’s services.
Chairman of IPSO, Sir Alan Moses, said: “IPSO takes press harassment and breaches of privacy very seriously and I was extremely concerned to read the accounts of some of the families in the report. We are keen to investigate these cases if we can and I have written to Lord Kerslake asking if he has any information that would enable us to identify the media outlets concerned. Our action plan demonstrates the further steps we will take to protect families in this kind of situation in future.”