Dealing with the press
Will the press be interested?
If the collision involves the death of someone or serious injury, newspapers, magazines, television and radio journalists may be interested in the crash and any subsequent court case.
How do they find out your details?
The media have several ways of obtaining information, including making enquiries in the general area where they think the family might live.
Will journalists actually try and speak to the family?
Yes, they may call you on the telephone, knock on your door or try to approach you at a court hearing. They may even print or broadcast your name and address. If you do not wish to speak to them just say, “ No comment, please leave us alone.” Avoid any confrontation and just walk away. If you are at court, hopefully you will be in company with your family liaison officer. If they continue to harass inform your family liaison officer and if necessary call the police.
Talking to journalists and hearing about a loved one in the media may be distressing. Most journalists will understand if you say you do not want to talk to them.
If you decide to talk to journalists you may find it helps to prepare what you might want to say in advance. Discuss it with your family and if you need help, again ask your family liaison officer. You may wish to write down what you want to say in the form of a short statement which you can give, or read, to journalists. They may ask for a photograph of your loved one, which they would want to include in the article.
If someone is to blame can I make accusations?
No, if someone is being blamed for a death, make sure you do not make accusations that have not been proven in a court a law. If you do, you run the risk of civil action being taken against you. If you have a solicitor, you can ask them to check any statement you wish to make, or they can make a statement on your behalf.
Can it help the case if I talk to the press?
In some cases it can help the case considerably, especially if the collision was fail to stop (when one of the drivers leaves the scene without stopping). The appearance of the article and accompanying press appeal tends to affect people and can increase the chance of witnesses coming forward.
Media coverage of your case may be positive. It may help raise awareness of the extent of death on the road and the importance of road safety.
What should I do if I want to make a complaint against the press?
If you have a complaint about something in a newspaper or magazine that you think breaks the press Code of Practice, the best thing to do first is to write to the editor about it. This is usually the quickest way of getting a correction or apology for an inaccuracy or intrusion.
If the editor hasn’t replied to you within a week, or you are unhappy with his or her response, then write to the below as soon as possible.
Press Complaints Commission
1, Salisbury Square,
London, EC4Y 8J
You should make your complaint within one month of the publication of the article. Alternatively, if you have immediately taken up the matter direct with editor, the commission will deal with complaints received up to one month after the end of correspondence with him or her.