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Member of the public targeted by the press over Coronavirus 

A man who unknowingly infected others with the Coronavirus (CoV) has been publicly identified by several sections of the UK media, including the BBC. His name is now trending on Twitter.

 

The man in question could not have known he had the virus at the time he came into contact with others.

 

Hacked Off Campaigns and Victim Liaison Rose Hayden commenting on the case said,

 

“Catching a disease could happen to any of us, yet an innocent member of the public who had the misfortune of coming into contact with the Coronavirus has been identified in accusatory articles in newspapers across the UK.  Some newspapers are treating him more like a biological terrorist than a victim of this terrible illness.

 

Media outlets have published details of his name, job, hometown and the hospital he responsibly checked himself into to help prevent the spread of the disease.

 

Details relating to individuals’ health are personal and private. Noone should have to see their personal medical information splashed across national newspapers for friends, neighbours, colleagues and everyone else in their life to see.  There is no public interest in identifying affected individuals by name, least of all those who have immediately checked themselves into hospitals.

 

This coverage is invasive and unethical, and if IPSO were halfway a competent regulator it would act immediately to investigate this coverage with a view to delivering serious sanctions.”

 

ENDS

For press enquiries contact: sara@hackinginquiry.org and 07554 665 940

 

NOTES

Hacked Off is the campaign for a free and accountable press, and we work with the victims of press abuse to achieve those aims.

 

28 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Tony Wilsonreply
February 12, 2020 at 3:32 pm

I thoroughly agree that he is entitled to anonymity, and I suspect the press and the (now fully Tory) BBC are not the only guilty ones.

Eric smithreply
February 12, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Disgraceful behaviour by the press. Television coverage also went too far even filming the house of the unfortunate individual. The media should be ashamed of themselves but my bet is that they are not.

Gillian Vaughanreply
February 12, 2020 at 3:41 pm

This is just another example of the poisonous impact of our thoroughly debased national media on our society.
The sooner they are properly regulated the better.

Gillian Dalleyreply
February 12, 2020 at 3:43 pm

Absolutely right.

Cathy Scottreply
February 12, 2020 at 3:58 pm

Totally agree with you. Poor guy.

Paul Carlinereply
February 12, 2020 at 4:05 pm

It’s all about newspaper sales and viewer figures … and the anti-China propaganda of course.

Elizabeth Cawoodreply
February 12, 2020 at 4:12 pm

Agree wholeheartedly. If the press want to be useful they should issue advice instead of pursuing this sensationalist and emotive style of so called “reporting” No excuse whatsoever and there should be prosecutions for those responsible for it.

Louisereply
February 12, 2020 at 4:15 pm

I did not want complain about this incident in public forums, as I thought it might bring more attention to the case, but I was absolutely disgusted to see the Sky News article this morning. Poor man. They’ve even basically given away his address. I’m hardly sure what being a Scout Leader is mentioned for; surely, that means he is a volunteer and a role model in his community! I felt when they mentioned that in the article, it was some bizarre inflammatory attempt to indicate that he was a pedophile or somesuch; or to let nasty people hunt him down and hound him. Please, if you do get in touch with him to provide support, send my condolences that he has been part of such a disgusting smear campaign on their part. Absolute pigs.

Jane e Halereply
February 12, 2020 at 4:22 pm

The last thing this person needs is this sort of treatment, he needs all his resources to fight this virus, and kindness and understanding will help him fight back.

Pipreply
February 12, 2020 at 5:06 pm

I had assumed that he had given consent. Not so I suppose? Newspapers are good at trashing people’s lives but dreadful at getting correct facts into print.

K V Welchreply
February 12, 2020 at 5:12 pm

Your analysis is 100% correct in that this could be anyone of us who could have been in contact with someone who had it and would have not known that we were a carrier until the symptoms exposed it. Therefore this guy should not have been identified and publically named, its evaasion of his right to privacy and must have added to the stress that both he and immediate family must be suffering and, being someone who has medically diagnosed with Chronic Stress I feel for them. The only way that this matter can be resolved in terms of stress relief to all those involved is a public apology and a six figure sum compensation for the serious damage they have caused. Perhaps Hackedoff could start a petition in support of getting him compensation, hopefully with significant numbers in support that will send a message to him and his family that may people are concerned about what has happened to him and the affects that it has caused..

Chrisreply
February 12, 2020 at 5:36 pm

Thanks for highlighting yet another sad and avoidable case of invaded privacy. Perhaps we at Hacked Off should be broadening our scope to promote the very concept of privacy again as it gets abandoned in the digital age. How about a campaign with other groups such as Liberty? Until everyone grasps that privacy is essential to a decent life, in fact is regarded as a Human Right, then the media will continue to get away with treating people with contempt.

Patrick Bentleyreply
February 12, 2020 at 5:57 pm

making a drama into a crisis is what sells

B. K. Robertsreply
February 12, 2020 at 6:06 pm

Vile irresponsibility – they have transgressed the thin line between genuine investigative reporting and unnecessary intrusion – have they learned nothing from the Millie Dowler case? A FREE press is an essential part of a democracy and must be maintained! HOW do we make them UNDERSTAND?

Alisonreply
February 12, 2020 at 6:06 pm

Appalling behaviour, and totally irresponsible of journalists and publishers. I really hope that the victim sues them. No one should have to go through this public humiliation, scorn, and prejudice. If this had been a newspaper staff member, the case would never have reached the public.

A Wellsreply
February 12, 2020 at 6:28 pm

Out of order but they are just parasites who need to get more worthwhile jobs. Maybe they would like to be real journalists and go to war zones and report on real news.

Douglas Mitchelllreply
February 12, 2020 at 6:51 pm

An absolute disgrace in itself but also in the way it might encourage Trump and Johnson to enlist popular support for persecuting the press, both responsible and non-responsible.

Wendy Rochefortreply
February 12, 2020 at 6:56 pm

I am very angry with press intrusion into people’s lives. There is absolutely no need to publicise this man’s personal details, if necessary for the “story” his name only would suffice.
I was also angered by the press publicising Philip Schofield’s recent coming out as I feel a person’s sexuality is of nobody’s business but their own. I don’t declare that I am heterosexual so why should homosexuals have to be outed. In this day and age it’s really not important

Peter Washingtonreply
February 12, 2020 at 7:28 pm

“Catching a disease could happen to any of us, yet an innocent member of the public who had the misfortune of coming into contact with the Coronavirus has been identified in accusatory articles in newspapers across the UK. Some newspapers are treating him more like a biological terrorist than a victim of this terrible illness.

Media outlets have published details of his name, job, hometown and the hospital he responsibly checked himself into to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Details relating to individuals’ health are personal and private. Noone should have to see their personal medical information splashed across national newspapers for friends, neighbours, colleagues and everyone else in their life to see. There is no public interest in identifying affected individuals by name, least of all those who have immediately checked themselves into hospitals.

This coverage is invasive and unethical, and if IPSO were halfway a competent regulator it would act immediately to investigate this coverage with a view to delivering serious sanctions.”

This is just ANOTHER why IPSO should be SHUT DOWN as soon as another Regulatory body, with the PROPER ability to enforce Representative FINES that will force the Press to BEHAVE themselves, and STOP the Gutter Press from the HORRENDOUS, ABOMINABLE reporting that can DESTROY lives and Families !!!! We should be demanding Multi-Million Pound Fines where necessary, just so we can provide some recompense for the victims of the ABUSE of the Press !!

elizabeth rossreply
February 12, 2020 at 7:51 pm

so fed up with govts around the world scapegoating the people instead of taking the resonsible route.this includes our own govt too. with this and with the way our country has just rolled over and given up our own. while we are at it…WHY? is NO ONE fighting for assange? he is the biggest scapegoat just now

Andyreply
February 12, 2020 at 8:16 pm

He released a statement that *identified himself*. You do great work, but this is a non-story.

Diana Coxreply
February 12, 2020 at 8:23 pm

I agree and thought it very strange when the man’s name was released. I don’t do social media so haven’t seen the coverage there, though I can imagine the tone.

Valerie Howardreply
February 12, 2020 at 8:45 pm

Had already come to the same conclusions.

Helenreply
February 12, 2020 at 10:09 pm

The Wirral echo shared this story about this man.
I was really shocked and annoyed at the articles tone and victorious attitude of being able to name and shame him. Can’t believe they could get away with it.
I am so pleased that you have picked this up as it is disgraceful journalism

Samreply
February 12, 2020 at 10:14 pm

Totally agree, disgraceful! All it needs is some maniac to take “revenge”. Irresponsible especially given the gravity of the situation.

Tess Greenreply
February 13, 2020 at 6:03 pm

This is disgusting victimisation of someone who is innocent of any wrongdoing and it outlines why we need a decent media watchdog.

Anne Taylorreply
February 14, 2020 at 4:17 am

I totally agree !

Katerina Porterreply
February 14, 2020 at 9:17 pm

Media at its worst

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