The press watchdog has pledged to provide newsroom training to help journalists covering major incidents following the release of a report into coverage of the Manchester Arena terror attack.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation says it will also produce new guidelines for both editors and the public on the subject following the publication of the Kerslake Report.
The report, written by former head of the civil service Lord Kerslake, highlighted the “sympathetic reporting” of last May’s attack by local and regional newspapers, such as the Manchester Evening News, while criticising other media for press intrusion.
In its response published today, IPSO admitted some of the incidents of intrusion described in the report would constitute grave breaches of its Editors’ Code of Practice – but noted that no publications involved in any alleged wrongdoing have been identified.
The organisation says it will consider a recommendation made in the report that the Editors’ Code be reviewed in light of the experiences described by victims’ families, and that consideration should also be given to developing a new code specifically to cover such events.
IPSO says it will work with the Society of Editors and others to discuss issues raised in the review, and develop an “organisational major incident plan” that is automatically triggered after any event leading to mass casualties.
It has further pledged to produce guidelines for editors and the public, as well as newsroom training and resources, covering reporting on major incidents, and says it will work with the National Council for the Training of Journalists to address the points raised in the report in future journalism training.
Other pledges including working with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing to support training provided to police family liaison officers regarding the media, and to step up work in liaising with emergency and medical services to raise awareness of IPSO’s services.
IPSO chairman 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.”