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‘Wrong to blame media’ for Caroline Flack’s death, editors say

National newspapers (Lewis Stickley/PA)
National newspapers (Lewis Stickley/PA)

It is “wrong to blame the media” for the death of Caroline Flack, the organisation that represents the editors of the country’s top newspapers has said.

The shock news that the 40-year-old TV star took her own life on Saturday has prompted questions about the pressures faced by celebrities and how they are portrayed in traditional and social media.

But a statement released by the Society of Editors on Tuesday said it is “wrong for politicians to use her tragic death” to attack the media and call for tougher regulation.

“Caroline was an extremely popular personality with much of the public with her appearances on Strictly Come Dancing and Love Island,” it said.

“She was given coverage in the media for many years prior to recent events, the vast majority of it very positive.

Caroline Flack death
Caroline Flack (Matt Crossick/PA)

“We cannot know the reasons why Caroline chose to end her life however, it is wrong to blame the media for her decision without knowing the facts.”

The statement pointed to Samaritans guidance on reporting self-inflicted deaths.

The charity discourages speculation of the causes which can oversimplify the complex reasons behind a person’s decision to take their own life.

The statement also said the police investigation and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decision to charge Flack were matters that were “in the public domain and should be covered”.

“To believe that by silencing mainstream media on such matters would prevent speculation on social media where rumour and accusations run unchecked by the regulations the media adheres to, is both naive and dangerous,” it continued.

“A blanket ban on any reporting of accusations or police investigation until a person is charged is also dangerous as it can lead to the deterrence of whistle blowers, give succour to the rich and the powerful, and is not in the public interest.”

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