Hacked Off warn of “dangerous reporting” by tabloid press in light of Supreme Court decision on Parliament prorogation

The Sun newspaper has published a front-page story saying that Sun readers have “bombarded” the paper condemning the decision taken by the Supreme Court that prorogation was “unlawful”.


The front-page story is accompanied by a photograph of Lady Hale. In addition to this front-page, a column that went up 24th September 2019 on The Sun website questioned Lady Hale’s motives for reaching the verdict:


“What do we know of the 11 judges who reached yesterday’s unprecedented decision? Not much. Yet.

But let’s alight on the head of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale. She’s the beady-eyed old nanny goat who read yesterday’s verdict in the court.

Brenda Hale has long been seen as a quintessential liberal blue-stocking. If she’s a Leaver, I’m a Martian.

Fifteen years ago I saw Lady Hale at a Commons select committee hearing and wrote a mildly disobliging account of it for a national newspaper. Legal stooges kicked up a frightful fuss, saying I was out of order for questioning a judge’s political sympathies.

Well, they should brace themselves for plenty more of that sort of thing now.

What’s sauce for Boris is sauce for Brenda Hale. Her Supreme Court questioned Boris’s motives in proroguing Parliament. The British people can now question her motives in reaching that verdict.

They might be interested, for instance, to learn that she has just been given a cushy position at an Oxford college run by Alan Rusbridger, former editor of the left-wing Guardian newspaper.”


The Jo Cox Foundation CEO Catherine Anderson said:


“Language matters. We passionately defend people’s right to disagree and to voice opinions, but nuance and words matter and language can have consequences. We also reject attacks of a personal nature, and worry about the levels of anger we are seeing in society at the moment, and how this plays out in the media. We are not at war, and talk of collaborators, traitors and coups are raising the dial on public discourse to a dangerous level. The Foundation would not exist were it not for an act of horrendous political violence that resulted in Jo’s murder over three years ago. We desperately want to see people of all beliefs and backgrounds come together, rebuild the fabric of our shared national life, and – in Jo’s own words – to always remember that we are far more united, and have far more in common, than that which divides us.”


Hacked Off Director Kyle Taylor said:


“This kind of reporting is yet another example that nothing has changed since the Leveson report 7 years ago. We’ve said it before and we will say it again – this is victimisation and not journalism. It has to stop. We need genuine, independent press regulation and accountability now.”

“As with other tabloid front-pages such as ‘Crush the Saboteurs’ and ‘Enemies of the People’, these and today’s Sun reporting are tantamount to incitement. We must remember that Labour MP Jo Cox tragically and brutally lost her life during the EU referendum to a man who shouted “this is for Britain” and who had been accessing far-right material in the run up to the attack.

“We know that our mainstream press has amplified far-right materials in the past. Analysis performed by Twitter found that 70% of viewings of the Christchurch terrorist’s propaganda video on the platform, of him slaughtering innocent people, came from tweets or retweets by traditional media outlets”

“We must insist on fair and fact-based reporting that doesn’t undermine the very foundations of our democracy or target individuals simply doing their jobs, politicians and judges alike and that doesn’t amplify dangerous materials that radicalise people to cause violence.”


Hacked Off Policy Manager Nathan Sparkes said:


“It is important for the media to hold the judiciary to account without fear or favour, but Mr Letts’ suggestion that serving as a senior Judge requires forgoing one’s privacy rights is as absurd as it is dangerous. Judges, and in particular their families, have a right to privacy and it is wrong for The Sun to suggest otherwise.

“The description of Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, as “nanny goat” is odiously misogynistic and probably in breach of even the industry’s own inadequate standards code – yet IPSO are unlikely to consider a complaint unless it is made by Lady Hale herself.”



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