'Caroline’s Law' petition receives 600,000 signatures after 'Love Island' presenter’s death

Hundreds of thousands of people have backed 'Caroline's Law' (PA)

An online petition set up in the wake of Caroline Flack's death calling for a new law to prevent the media from 'bullying' individuals has received more than 600,000 signatures.

The petition backs "Caroline's Law", and asks for legislation that would make it a criminal offence for the British media to harass someone up to the point where they take their own life.

Flack, 40, was found dead at her north London home on Saturday, a month before she was due to face trial accused of assaulting her boyfriend, Lewis Burton, 27.

A lawyer for her family said the Love Island presenter took her own life.

The petition on political activism website 38 degrees had been signed by more than 690,000 people on Tuesday morning.

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Floral tributes placed outside Caroline Flack's former home in North London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police van parked outside the building believed to be where Caroline Flack lived in Clapton, London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Floral tributes placed outside Caroline Flack's former home in North London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Floral tributes placed outside Caroline Flack's former home in North London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Floral tribute placed outside the building believed to be where Caroline Flack lived in Clapton, London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Caroline Flack attends the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London 90th Anniversary at Grosvenor House on April 30, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/04/30: Caroline Flack at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House - 90th anniversary party at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House, Park Lane. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
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Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: Love Island presenter Caroline Flack leaves Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on December 23, 2019 in London, England. The Love Island host attended court after being charged with assault by beating following an argument with boyfriend Lewis Burton. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Caroline Flack’s Management Blast CPS For Pursuing A ‘Show Trial’ For ‘Vulnerable’ Love Island Presenter
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: Love Island presenter Caroline Flack appears at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on December 23, 2019 in London, England. The Love Island host is due in court after being charged with assault by beating following an argument with boyfriend Lewis Burton. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Caroline Flack attends The Beauty Awards 2019 on November 25, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: Caroline Flack (L) and Josie Naughton attend the launch of the annual 'Choose Love' shop for Help Refugees on November 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Caroline Flack attends The Beauty Awards 2019 on November 25, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 20 2019: Caroline Flack attends the Winter Wonderland VIP launch night at Hyde Park in London.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Keith Mayhew / Echoes Wire / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Keith Mayhew / Echoes Wire / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Caroline Flack attends the ITV Palooza 2019 at The Royal Festival Hall on November 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Caroline Flack attends the ITV Palooza 2019 at the Royal Festival Hall on November 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/10/17: Caroline Flack attends the Global Gift Gala at Kimpton Fitzroy in London. (Photo by Brett Cove/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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It is addressed to the House of Commons and culture secretary Oliver Dowden and is on its way to making its target of 700,000 signatures.

The petition was set up by Dennis Patton, from South Shields, in the North East of England.

It reads: "To consider a law that would make it a criminal offence, not dissimilar to corporate manslaughter, for the British media to knowingly and relentlessly bully a person, whether they be in the public eye or not, up to the point that they take their own life."

The petition states: "Sections of the British press and media act with impunity, and more recently there have been a number of cases where they have sought to sensationalise the misfortune of individuals to the catastrophic detriment of the individuals' mental welfare.

'They dragged her life through the wringer'

"We'll never truly know all of the things that were going on in Caroline's mind when she took the decision to take her life.

"But we do know that sections of the media were quite happy to drag her life through the wringer purely in order to sell a few more papers and it's just not right.

"What price is a life? This isn't the first time this has happened, and I'm concerned that without a new law, it won't be the last."

Dr Paul Wragg, associate professor of law at the University of Leeds, said he would welcome such a law but that it would need political backing to be introduced.

"It would require a political appetite to have it," he told Yahoo News UK. "There would have to be the political will to introduce it, and it's not clear that there is.

"I would like to see a stricter system of press regulation. What we need is compulsory press regulation."

He said any new law like the one in the petition should apply to celebrities and non-celebrities.

"What's required is a re-examination of the circumstances that can lead to this kind of bullying," he said.

"If we had a law like the one being petitioned for, liability could only be determined post-facto i.e. after someone has died."

He said ideally there would be a law that "stamped out" any bullying behaviour on the part of the media before someone loses their life.

Caroline Flack was found dead at her home on Saturday (PA)

Robin Priestly, campaigns director at 38 Degrees, told ITV News: "The sheer number of people signing this petition speaks to a huge outpouring of grief and anger after Caroline's tragic death.

"People are saying enough is enough. They want the government to do something to make sure our media can't bully or harass those in the public eye."

Meanwhile, a separate petition on Change.org calling for the government to launch an inquiry into the British tabloid press following Flack's death reached its 100,000-signature target.

READ MORE: Caroline Flack death - how does the CPS decide to charge someone?

The petition, set up by user Joshua A, received more than 218,000 signatures.

He wrote: "This campaign is calling on our government to launch an inquiry into the British tabloids and their conduct following the maltreatment of those in the public eye including; Caroline Flack, Harry and Meghan Markle, to name a few.

"The headlines, harassment and trial by media has to end and they must be held accountable.

"We are campaigning for an inquiry into the practices and policies of mainstream media organisations and social media platforms in their efforts to protect members of the public from harm."

-This article first appeared on Yahoo

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