Cumbria Constabulary has been challenged over its refusal to reveal the identity who died this week after falling into water near Kendal.
The force told local press it has a policy of no releasing the names of those killed in “non-suspicious” incidents.
In a letter to the force, executive director of the Society of Editors Bob Satchwell said: “I find it rather surprising that details of unexpected deaths of this kind are not released. While I can appreciate that it may quickly be decided that the death is not suspicious, I fail to appreciate why it appears that the police do not recognise the clear public interest in such events.
“Accidental deaths following from the extraordinary circumstances of last weekend’s storms, and indeed from recreational activities, obviously have huge public interest not least because of the significant public resources that are deployed, the implications for other people and lessons which may need to be learned.
“There is a public interest in people being supplied with information including the names of victims to avoid speculation and rumour.
“I find it extremely difficult to understand why there should be a policy of not releasing names of those who have died or been injured in such circumstances and why there is apparently national policy that names should not be released as quickly as possible after relatives have been informed.
“Cumbria Police pointed to a family request that the victim’s name should not be released. I can understand that they might not want to talk to the media but the police are best placed to provide this information and, rather than the media chasing it through their own sources, that can help avoid intrusion into grief.”