Cricket ace Ben Stokes calls for action after ‘despicable behaviour’ from The Sun

Ben Stokes and the Sun logo
Ed Sykes

England cricketing hero Ben Stokes has launched a strong critique of gutter tabloid the Sun after its “totally out of order” reporting on his family.

‘Immoral, heartless and contemptuous’

The highly acclaimed cricketer slammed the disgraced right-wing rag for publishing “extremely painful, sensitive and personal details concerning events in the private lives of my family, going back more than 31 years”. Stokes also called the reporting – which apparently contained “serious inaccuracies” – “low and despicable behaviour, disguised as journalism”. And he said:

I cannot conceive of anything more immoral, heartless or contemptuous to the feelings and circumstances of my family.

A Sun staff member had gone to the home of Stokes’ parents in New Zealand uninvited to ask them about the “incredibly upsetting topic”. And as Stokes said:

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Sun think it is acceptable to sensationalise our personal tragedy for their front page.

The publication of the story, he insisted, would have “grave and lifelong consequences for my mum in particular”. And he stressed:

This is the lowest form of journalism, focussed only on chasing sales with absolutely no regard for the devastation caused to lives as a consequence. It is totally out of order.

And in a call to action, he argued:

We need to take a serious look at how we allow our press to behave.

Out of respect for his family’s privacy, The Canary will not give further information about this story.

This “gross invasion of privacy” must stop

In response to the Sun‘s reporting, the hashtags #DontBuyTheSun and #BoycottTheSun began to trend yet again. And campaign group Hacked Off quickly offered its support:

A Hacked Off spokesperson, meanwhile, insisted:

This is an appalling invasion of privacy with no public interest justification. We have been told repeatedly by newspaper editors that “everything has changed” since the Leveson report 7 years ago. It is abundantly clear that nothing has changed. Some newspapers are just as incapable of abiding by principles of human decency and basic journalistic ethics as they were during the phone hacking scandal.

The spokesperson then highlighted what they consider to be a major problem in the British media sector today, saying:

The fundamental problem is the total absence of regulation across most of our newspaper industry. The self-regulator IPSO has the power to issue large fines and launch serious investigations into breaches of the Editors’ Code, but it has never done so. …

A serious press regulator would be able to deal with such a blatant transgression of the journalism code. But IPSO, which was set up by the press after the Leveson report, is owned by the corporate publishers and is a puppet regulator.

Others also criticised the ruling Conservative Party for its failure to respond appropriately to the Leveson inquiry:

Change must come

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously said:

We’ve got news for the billionaire, tax exile press barons: Change is coming.

And with the Sun continuing its ‘despicable behaviour’ with impunity, that change couldn’t come soon enough.

Featured image via Flickr – Ben Sutherland / Wikimedia – News International Newspapers

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