A vibrant, open and free press that is able to hold the powerful to account is vital to our democracy. Balanced against this it is not unreasonable to expect the press to act with understanding in relation to sensitive personal stories. Press freedom comes with a responsibility to ensure it is not abused.
Following the publication of the Leveson Inquiry in 2012, we have seen great improvements in press regulation with the formation of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) and Impress, which have the power to hold publications to account, including ordering prominent corrections. Both regulators are independent of government and enforce Codes of Practice, which include provisions on privacy and intrusion. They both operate free complaints handling systems and low-cost arbitration schemes.
In cases relating to privacy, individuals affected are able to complain to IPSO who will investigate vigorously and sanction the publication in question if appropriate.
I have reservations about implementing all the Leveson recommendations due to their impact on a free press, though I do believe that it is important that victims of this sort of journalism should have an effective means of redress, which in turn should help to act as a deterrent.
I would be interested to receive further feedback as to whether there are specific measures that could be introduced to improve the situation.