Thursday 9 January 2020 5:01 pm

Journalists’ union hits back at Harry and Meghan in royal reporting row

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) today hit back at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after the Royal couple launched its latest attack on the media over alleged misreporting.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sent shockwaves through the nation yesterday when they announced plans to step back as senior members of the Royal family.

Read more: Queen ‘disappointed’ with Prince Harry decision

In a lengthy statement posted to their new website, the couple said they will no longer participate in the royal rota – a pooling system for news coverage – instead saying they would provide access to “credible news outlets” and engage with “grassroots” media organisations.

“Britain’s Royal correspondents are regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of the Royal family as well as of their private lives,” they said.

“This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting.”

The Sussexes added that some accurate reporting by royal correspondents had been edited or rewritten by editorial teams to “present false impressions”.

But the union branded this, together with Downing Street’s new policy on lobby briefings, as another instance of an attempt to “prevent the media from functioning and compromising the ability of journalists to do their jobs, which is completely unacceptable”. 

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “The rota system is not perfect, but it does allow UK media to cover the British Royal family – an institution maintained by the public purse. 

“We cannot have a situation where journalists writing about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex can only do so if they have the royal seal of approval.”

The union boss also blasted the pair for claiming to respect the media while simultaneously launching “sweeping” criticisms of news organisations.

Read more: Duke and Duchess of Sussex sue Mail on Sunday as they launch attack on Fleet Street

The royal salvo is the latest from Harry and Meghan, who have accused Fleet Street of launching a “ruthless campaign” against them.

In October the Duke and Duchess filed a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday over alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of data protection laws.