Manchester Arena report praises local press but slams "intrusive and overbearing behaviour" of some media

David Prior's picture

The report into the response to the Manchester Arena attack has praised the coverage of local press including the Manchester Evening News - but slammed the "intrusive and overbearing behaviour" of other sections of the media.

The 224-page report, set up by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham in the wake of the May 22nd attack last year, identifies the strengths and weaknesses in how the disaster was tackled.

Compiled by a panel led by former head of the civil service Lord Kerslake, it highlights the "positive role" played by the MEN and its success in raising money for the beareaved families.

MEN editor-in-chief Rob Irvine said: “Lord Kerslake’s report confirms that there is a positive role that the Press can play in communicating on behalf of families and in fundraising.

Manchester Evening News editor-in-chief Rob Irvine

“It mentions that the MEN raised a million pounds for the emergency appeal in 24 hours. The final total raised was £2.5 million which was included in the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund of £20m that is helping the bereaved and those most affected.”

The review gave examples of how families felt about the behaviour of some journalists.

“At the hospitals, families attending to look for missing loved ones and visiting the injured described having to force their way through scrums of reporters who ‘wouldn’t take no for an answer’,”  it says.

“A member of staff on her ward spoke of a note offering £2,000 for information being included in a tin of biscuits given to the staff.”

It said the panel was "shocked and dismayed" to hear of the way families approached by certain sections of media in a way that was "completely unacceptable".

One family member said:  “The information in the Manchester Evening News was correct but when national Press picked it up, it would change.”

Another described their local press as “amazing”.

The review makes a number of recommendations in relation to the media, including that the Independent Press Standards Organisation - the Press regulator - introduce new guidelines on reporting the aftermath of terror attacks.

Irvine added: “I am pleased to see that there is a recommendation that statutory responders should engage with local trusted Press and broadcasters as key participants in planning and rehearsing responses to major incidents.

“The MEN played a key role in helping communicating the facts to the public and we also gave a voice to the people of Greater Manchester who rallied together and around those affected by this atrocity.”