Professor Steve Barnett, Professor of Communications, was interviewed by BBC 5 Live and was featured on BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Asia, BBC Sport and LBC about ethical practice in journalism following The Sun’s coverage of the family tragedy of Ben Stokes.
Discussing the controversial front page news about Ben Stokes in tabloid newspaper ‘The Sun’, Professor Steve Barnett said his initial reaction to hearing about the story was that nothing has changed.
He said: “We’ve been promised for years that tabloid journalism had improved and that they [newspapers] would now abide by their own code of conduct, and this is probably the most graphic evidence we’ve had for some time of at least one journalist and one paper driving a coach and horses through their own code of conduct.”
When asked about what The Sun’s motivation would have been to publish the story, Professor Barnett said it was to sell papers.
He added: “It was a brutally commercial decision which took absolutely no account of their own code of conduct which says everyone is entitled to respect for his/her family life.”
He also spoke about his own research, which found that the vast majority of people do not see stories of this kind as legitimate journalism. He said: “I don’t think The Sun needs to publish that sort of story to continue to sell newspapers and I honestly think the vast majority of people, including The Sun’s own readers, will read that and be pretty disgusted.”