Royal couple’s plans to restrict national media access ‘unacceptable’ – union

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has hit back at plans by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to restrict the national press's access to their official engagements, branding it "completely unacceptable".

Harry and Meghan, who are quitting as senior royals, launched an attack on the UK's newspapers which coincided with their shock announcement.

In its media section, their new website Sussexroyal.com criticised Britain's royal correspondents and said the couple would no longer participate in the "royal rota" system which has been used by Buckingham Palace for decades.

Royal visit to Africa

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, described the move as appearing to attempt "to prevent the media from functioning and compromising the ability of journalists to do their jobs, which is completely unacceptable".

Ms Stanistreet added: "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.

"We reject sweeping criticism of journalists and media organisations by the duke and duchess, who simultaneously claim to respect the role of the media."

But the Hacked Off campaign group, which calls for greater press regulation, said Harry and Meghan had been subjected to sustained abuse by the UK media.

Hannah Mian, campaigns manager for Hacked Off, said: "For too long the royals have been expected to put up with whatever racist, false or otherwise abusive coverage comes their way, with concerns about the standards and fairness of royal reporting dismissed as akin to complaining about the weather.

"In refusing to accept this abusive reporting as an inevitability of the role, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shown that there is another way.

Harry

"Our media is a powerful political force and it needs to be held accountable."

Harry and Meghan's new approach, which will begin in the spring, will deny automatic access to royal correspondents, and focus instead on social media, "credible outlets", specialist media, grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists.

Their website said it was a misconception that Britain's royal correspondents were credible sources on the royal family, and accused them of frequent misreporting.

19 PHOTOS
Harry and Meghan visit Canada’s High Commission
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Harry and Meghan visit Canada’s High Commission
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette (right), as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House in London after thanking Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette (R) for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Duchess of Sussex are greeted outside Canada House in London by Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette (L) and the deputy High Commissioner, Sarah Fountain Smith (2nd from left). (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House in London after thanking Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrives at Canada House in London. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Duchess of Sussex met Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette thanking her for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
The Duchess of Sussex wearing a brown polo neck top and a Massimo Dutti skirt, and The Duke of Sussex visit Canada House in London on January 07, 2020.
The Duchess of Sussex wearing a brown polo neck top and a Massimo Dutti skirt, and The Duke of Sussex visit Canada House in London on January 07, 2020.
The Duchess of Sussex wearing a Reiss camel coat, and The Duke of Sussex visit Canada House in London on January 07, 2020.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look at a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look at a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look at a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette and the deputy High Commissioner, Sarah Fountain Smith (left), as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duchess of Sussex arrves for her visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex talk with the High Commissioner for Canada in the UK Janice Charette (2nd left) and the deputy High Commissioner Sarah Fountain Smith (left) during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duchess of Sussex arriving for her visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duchess of Sussex arriving for the visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
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