A huge petition is demanding the press is investigated over Caroline Flack’s death

Caroline Flack with her hand on her chin
Steve Topple

Nearly 250,000 people have signed a petition calling for the government to investigate the UK media. The petition was launched after the death of Caroline Flack. And its organiser says that an inquiry specifically into British tabloids is “long overdue”.

Caroline Flack

As The Canary previously reported:

TV presenter Caroline Flack was found dead in her London flat on 15 February. Her family confirmed that she took her own life, and the tragic news has people shocked.

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In December, Flack quit her presenting role on the ITV show Love Island. Her decision was reportedly influenced by an assault charge against her.

Flack had previously opened up about her mental health struggles. She had also gone on to talk about the pressure she had recently been under.

On social media, people were angry with papers like the Sun for hounding Flack in the wake of her assault charge:

As The Canary‘s Afroze Fatima Zaidi wrote on 16 February:

The Sun had only days ago published an article about a Valentine’s Day card mocking Flack and referring to the assault charges against her. The article has now been taken down.

But some people believe the media treatment of Flack is endemic of a broader problem. And one of those people has started a petition.

Time for Leveson 2?

Joshua Brandwood launched the campaign. It states that:

In 2011, the Government launched a public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press following the News International phone hacking scandal, chaired by Lord Justice Leveson.

Almost a decade later and we are still seeing similar issues in the press.

The petition page is careful to note that it’s not about censoring the press. It’s about having an ‘open conversation’ over the media’s conduct.

Holding the tabloids to account: “long overdue”

Brandwood told The Canary:

I launched this campaign following the tragic death of Caroline Flack. An inquiry into the British tabloids is long overdue. Politicians and the public alike have been calling for Leveson Part Two for many years. But unfortunately it hasn’t yet materialised.

However, recent high-profile cases involving tabloids harassing and vilifying the likes of Harry and Meghan Markle and now Caroline Flack show there is a need for our government to return this issue firmly to its agenda.

We accept the media have a responsibility to hold people in power to account and inform the public about cases before the courts. But acting as judge and jury in the court of public opinion is not acceptable. This needs to change.

Given nearly 250,000 had signed the petition at the time of writing on 22 February, public feeling around this appears strong. But the government’s position is less clear. Not least because the Conservative government scrapped plans for Leveson 2 in 2018.

Either way, the continuation of this pre-Leveson conduct of tabloid harassment of people in the public eye, is a major cause for concern. And it’s one that we all need to address before anyone else gets hurt.

Featured image via Channel 4 Documentary – YouTube

Get involved

  • Sign the petition calling for an inquiry into the British press.

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  • Show Comments
    1. It’s a worthy idea but unfortunately misunderstands the nature of the relationship between the government and the press. As we saw at the election, the press are simply the PR wing of the Tory establishment. Hounding ordinary people is a vital part of the establishment’s divide-and-rule tactics so that the public turn on people like this presenter rather than those running the country. It has to be said also that Love Island played a part in that – making ordinary people a laughing stock so that the public don’t look upwards.

    2. It’s quite clear that the press has learned nothing since the death nof the princess of Wales; anyone expecting the press to clean up its own act obviously believes that elephants can fly. It would take outright nationalisation of the entire press under workers’ control and mass arrest of all the press barons down to copy boy level to clean the biggest pile of shit since the augean stables. The response by one hack to the question “have you no respect for privacy?” that “Privacy is for paedos!” proves that.

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