Queen Elizabeth II, 94, has issued a heartfelt message to mark Journalism Week Matters 2020. In the powerful message, the Queen praises British mainstream media for its reporting of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Queen’s message reads: “On the occasion of the 2020 Journalism Matters Week, I am pleased to send my best wishes to the members of the News Media Association.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has once again demonstrated what an important public service the established news media provides, both nationally and regionally.
“As our world has changed dramatically, having trusted, reliable sources of information, particularly at a time when there are so many sources competing for our attention, is vital.
“The efforts of the news media to support communities throughout the United Kingdom during the pandemic has been invaluable – whether through fundraising, encouraging volunteering, or providing a lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable to the outside world.”
“As you reflect on your achievements this year, and the challenges you have faced, I send my warm good wishes to you all for a most successful and memorable week.”
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In April, the Sussexes sent a letter to editors of the Mail, the Sun, the Mirror, and the Daily Express confirming their communications team will no longer engage with the publications.
The letter read: “As The Duke and Duchess of Sussex now settle into the next chapter of their lives and no longer receive any publicly funded support, we are writing to set a new media relations policy, specifically as it pertains to your organization.
“Like you, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex believe that a free press is a cornerstone to any democracy— particularly in moments of crisis.
“At its best, this free press shines light on dark places, telling stories that would otherwise go untold, standing up for what’s right, challenging power, and holding those who abuse the system to account.
“It has been said that journalism’s first obligation is to the truth. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex agree wholeheartedly.
“It is gravely concerning that an influential slice of the media, over many years, has sought to insulate themselves from taking accountability for what they say or print—even when they know it to be distorted, false, or invasive beyond reason. When power is enjoyed without responsibility, the trust we all place in this much-needed industry is degraded.
“There is a real human cost to this way of doing business and it affects every corner of society.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they know—as well as complete strangers—have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue.
“With that said, please note that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be engaging with your outlet. There will be no corroboration and zero engagement. This is also a policy being instated for their communications team, in order to protect that team from the side of the industry that readers never see.
“This policy is not about avoiding criticism. It’s not about shutting down public conversation or censoring accurate reporting. Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can’t be based on a lie.
“They also want to be very clear: this is not in any way a blanket policy for all media.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to working with journalists and media organisations all over the world, engaging with grassroots media, regional and local media, and young, up-and-coming journalists, to spotlight issues and causes that so desperately need acknowledging. And they look forward to doing whatever they can to help further opportunities for more diverse and underrepresented voices, who are needed now more than ever.
“What they won’t do is offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click bait and distortion.
“We are encouraged that this new approach will be heard and respected.”