Manchester Arena report to examine the role of the media

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by Stephen Chapman

The role of mainstream and social media will form part of a review into the attack on Manchester Arena.

The Kerslake Arena Review has been commissioned by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to look at the events and aftermath of the terrorist attack.

This morning, the panel, led by Lord Bob Kerslake, has published a progress report, detailing the work carried out so far, and also recommending that all public bodies adopt the “Charter for families bereaved through public tragedy.” This was inspired by the Hillsborough Families and proposed by The Right Reverend James Jones in his recent report.

The essence of the charter is to ask organisations to commit to learning lessons from Hillsborough and its aftermath to ensure the perspective of bereaved families isn’t lost in any future pubic tragedies.

“Since the arena review got underway in September 2017, we have strived to put the bereaved families, the seriously injured and all those affected by the attack at the heart of the review and ensure their voices are heard by involving them in every step of the process and exploring events from their perspective,” explained Lord Kerslake.

 “The panel wants to ensure that the ethos of putting families first isn’t lost following this tragedy or in the future, that’s why we are recommending Greater Manchester adopts the ‘Charter for families bereaved through public tragedy’ that was introduced as part of the Right Reverend Jones’ report.

“Throughout the review we have given everyone the chance to have their say and share their experiences of that dreadful night and the days that followed – good or bad – so we can look at what worked well and learn any lessons for the future. I’m grateful to everyone who has contributed and come forward with their views and experiences of what was undoubtedly an extremely traumatic event.”

In October a 6-week “engagement window” was opened to invite anyone caught up in the attack to come forward with their views and experiences. This was extended until the end of November.

In an update this morning, the panel said that it would be looking at the media’s role during the “response phase” and that this would include social media. It would also be examining articles and programmes that have been made public since the review began in September.

Following meetings with bereaved families, and some of those injured in the attack, it would also be looking into the role of the media in relation to the families.