Prince Harry and Meghan have announced they will be adopting a ‘zero engagement’ policy with four UK newspaper groups – but deny they are ‘avoiding criticism’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who live in Los Angeles with their son Archie, sent letters explaining their stance to the editors of the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, The Sun and the Daily Express.
They described being happy to work with other ‘journalists and media organisations all over the world’, but said they did not want to ‘offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion’.
The letter continued: ‘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.
Meghan is currently in the process of suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing a ‘private and confidential’ letter she had written to her father Thomas Markle. The first hearing will be held remotely this week.
Harry and Meghan’s letter in full;
‘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 organisation.
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 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.