In Brief

Prince Harry and Meghan’s ‘zero engagement’ media policy explained

Couple publicly cut ties with four UK tabloid newspapers

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced what they call a “zero engagement” policy with four major British tabloid newspapers that the couple claim have run “distorted, false or invasive” stories.

Just weeks after officially stepping back from their senior positions in the Royal Family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have sent an open letter to the editors of The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Mirror saying that they will no longer communicate with their publications’ representatives or “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click bait and distortion”.

“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,” the letter says. “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.

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“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.”

The Guardian reports that the new stance applies to not only the four daily newspapers but also their Sunday and online editions.

Under the new policy, the publications are barred from receiving updates and photographs from the couple, and may also be blocked from attending their media events, adds the Financial Times.

The announcement comes as the Duchess prepares to take on The Mail on Sunday in a court case over the paper’s decision to print a letter that she sent to her estranged father, with a virtual hearing scheduled to take place on Friday.

According to the Press Gazette, her solicitors say in court documents outlining Markle’s claims that the letter was “obviously private correspondence” which detailed “her intimate thoughts and feelings about her father’s health and her relationship with him at that time”.

Her lawyers also allege that the newspaper “intentionally distorted or manipulated” the letter’s meaning by choosing “to deliberately omit or suppress” certain sections, and gave her no warning that it was to be published.

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