The UK Sunday Times harassed a woman whose brother was convicted of murder, the UK Press Complaints Commission ruled recently.
The father of the woman, who the PCC didn’t identify, complained to the PCC “on a number of occasions” over the past year about the Times contacting the family. Those complaints prompted “two private advisory notices” to the Times instructing its journalists that the family “would not be speaking to the press.” A PCC spokesperson told iMediaEthics by email who gets private advisories. “Private advisories are sent to a list that goes beyond newspapers, magazines and websites that subscribe to the PCC via PressBoF, including some broadcasters,” the PCC’s Michael McManus wrote.
Despite the complaints and the two notices, the Times tried again to speak to the woman this past May, which prompted the PCC harassment ruling.
The PCC’s harassment guidelines read:
“[Journalists] must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursing or photographing individuals once asked to desist”.
According to the PCC, the Times claimed it lost track of the PCC warnings. The Times has apologized to the woman and set up a “database” to monitor its PCC warnings, the PCC added.