Harassment

The Editors’ Code says that journalists must not continue to question, contact, or photograph people once they have been asked to stop. If you clearly request that a journalist stops their activities, the Editors’ Code requires them to do so unless there is specific and adequate public interest to justify a decision to carry on. 

IPSO operates a 24 hour emergency harassment helpline 

07659 152 656 

Please leave a message explaining your concerns and you will be phoned back. Only use this number in cases of harassment by a journalist or for pre-publication advice, not for general enquiries or to make a complaint.  

Advice for handling unwanted approaches by journalists

  • Find out the journalist’s name and the name of the publication or agency they work for. Under the terms of Clause 3 of the Editors’ Code, journalists must provide this information if requested.

  • Tell the journalist clearly that you do not wish to speak to them or be photographed and that you are asking them to stop. You can add that under the Editors' Code of Practice, journalists must not continue their activities once asked to stop. It may help if you tell them that you are saying the same to every journalist.

  • If you are at home and do not wish to answer your door, pin a short note to it to say that you do not wish to speak to journalists and do not want to be disturbed.

  • If you are being telephoned repeatedly and do not wish to speak to journalists you should change your answerphone message to say that only personal callers should leave a message as you do not wish to speak to the media.

  • If you feel physically threatened or in immediate danger call the police.

How to respond to requests for comment from the press

  • You do not have to make a comment to the press if you do not wish to do so.

  • Some people find it helpful to ask a trusted person who is not closely associated with the story to deal with all press enquiries on their behalf.

  • If you are considering responding to questions, it may be helpful to ask for the questions to be put in writing.

  • If a newspaper or magazine contacts you to say that it intends to publish a story about you which you believe may breach the Editors' Code you can contact IPSO for advice.

How IPSO can help

  • IPSO can give specific advice about how the Editors' Code applies to your situation.

  • In some cases IPSO is able to contact newspapers and magazine publishers to make them aware of concerns that the Editors' Code may be breached via a private advisory notice. IPSO does not have the formal power to stop a newspaper or magazine from publishing a story or from continuing to ask questions.

  • IPSO cannot investigate formal complaints about the actions of broadcast journalists and journalists who are acting on behalf of publications or agencies who are not members of IPSO. However a number of broadcasters and non-member publications do choose to participate in the pre-publication and anti-harassment services operated by IPSO.

  • Whether or not you make use of IPSO's pre-publication and anti-harassment services you can still make a complaint if you believe that the Editors' Code has been breached. Keep a record of your concerns at the earliest opportunity, particularly if it relates to harassment.