If you didn’t see the Express front page, and you haven’t followed the story on The Enemies Of Reason and elsewhere, then now would be a good time to catch up, get outraged and follow Linehan’s four-point plan:
So! What can we do? Here are a few suggestions:
1) Stand up and be counted. Matt Nida has started an online petition which you can find here. When he’s got a decent number of names, he’ll be submitting it to the editor responsible for the story, the publishers and managing directors of Express Group Newspapers, the PCC, Downing Street and all media outlets who may be able to help shame the Express Group into action by making public the strength of national feeling about this.
2) Email your personal complaint to the Editorial Director of the Express Group about the conduct of Paula Murray and Scottish Sunday Express, Derek Lambie, who was responsible for placing the piece on the front cover. The Editorial Director is Paul Ashford, and this is his secretary’s email address, so please try to avoid being abusive to her – it’s not her fault! – and preface your email by asking Jo to pass your letter on to Mr Ashford. Jo.firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Write to Express Group publisher Richard Desmond. He keeps his email address well hidden, but you can write to him by snail mail at: Richard Desmond, Northern and Shell building, 10 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6EN
4) If you have a Facebook account and would like to vent with likeminded folks, here’s a group set up to protest the story.
Bad, exploitative journalism is pretty much impossible to avoid, but this is one case where invasion of privacy, lack of public interest, sneering hypocrisy and actual harm to actual people are all unequivocally present. Reporting like this is damaging to the people it exposes, but also ultimately to the function of the press – who have no right to claim any role in democratic scrutiny if they condone the humiliation of traumatised young adults. As Linehan points out, it’s partly because of the weakness of self-legislation that newspapers are able to repeat this sort of grotesque intrusion again and again and again. So let the press know how disgraceful they are. It’s for their own good.
Then after you’ve done that, check out the ersatz justice Bloggerheads weilds over Paula Murray. It’s pretty satisfying, so make sure you do your civic duty before you enjoy the reward.
(Updated 19 March to mirror changes on the original.)