Harry and Meghan: have the tabloids gone too far?

Written by Comment, Latest

There has been a ruthless campaign against Meghan Markle and her relationship with Prince Harry from the very beginning.

Since meeting in 2016, the tabloids have had coverage of Meghan and Harry’s relationship starting with The Daily Mail running the headline: “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton”, in which Harry responded with a statement accusing the media outlets of permitting “racial undertones” to crawl into the coverage of their new relationship.

However, instead of winning the favour of the press, it turned into a merciless campaign against Ms. Markle. Firstly, with the unfavourable coverage of her father in the run-up to their wedding, which therefore resulted in the couple allowing journalists and media outlets minimal access to the ceremony at St. George’s chapel, and secondly, the ‘Megxit’ campaign earlier this year.

After seeing what happened to his mother, you can see why Prince Harry would want to act and go against the publications campaigning against his wife. Prince Harry has openly blamed the press for his mother’s death, and when the couple welcomed their firstborn, Archie, his indignant feelings towards the press’ coverage of his family grew more, which resulted in legal action being taken against numerous publications.

Now Harry and Meghan have said they will not engage with the tabloid media. But the question is have the tabloids gone too far and does tabloid media need to change?

It is evident from the attack on Meghan Markle that the tabloid media needs to change. Both Harry and Meghan have experienced ‘media intrusion’ resulting in both of them suing multiple publications for the invasion of their privacy.

Tabloids thrive off attack journalism and celebrity gossip to sell their newspapers. Just look at how all the tabloids attacked Caroline Flack when she was charged with attacking her boyfriend and the coverage of her trial. Her unfortunate death then shined a light on ‘media intrusion’ and the consequences that follow. Thus, there is a line to be drawn between celebrity gossip for entertainment and attack journalism.

A call has been made for the government to launch an inquiry into the British tabloids and their conduct following the maltreatment of those in the public eye, such as Caroline Flack, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle. In 2011, the Government launched an inquiry into the malpractice and ethics of the British press following the News International phone-hacking scandal, the Leveson Inquiry. And now nearly a decade later there are stills problems within the press, with harassment, headlines, and unfair coverage by the media that should end, and they should be made accountable for. Thus, an inquiry needs to be made into the practices and ethics of journalists, the mainstream media organisations, and the British tabloids.

However, even though the actions of the press need to be re-evaluated. Michelle Stanistreet made a valid point of “who determines which media is ‘credible’ or ‘objective’? We cannot have a situation where journalists writing about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex can only do so if they have the royal seal of approval”. As it is the press’ responsibility to be the fourth estate and report on information and facts that is in the interest of the public. However, there is objectively reporting on Meghan and Harry’s choice to step back from the royal family and their step towards independence, and then there is creating a malicious campaign nicknaming the move “Megxit”.

Therefore, I believe the tabloid media does need to change. There is informing the public on information and facts that are of importance, however when the tabloids cross the line and start cruel campaigns against individuals and knowingly write malicious coverage their practices need to be questioned. Therefore, instead of waging cut-throat campaigns on those in the public eye, they should stick to having objective coverage.

Last modified: 28th April 2020

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