Singer Jamelia has hit out at the news industry for including her name in reports that her “stepbrother” has been found guilty of murder.
Jamelia Niela Davis took aim at articles from a range of news outlets, including the BBC and tabloid titles, about the court verdict delivered to 36-year-old Tafarwa Beckford on Friday last week.
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Headlines from the Mirror, the Sun, Mail Online, the Daily Star and the BBC all referred to Beckford as “Jamelia’s stepbrother”.
The Superstar singer said: “My mother had a relationship (never married) with the offender’s father when I was 2 years old – I’ll be 38 in January.
“I have never dismissed or denied my connections, but I find the fact that I am always used as the peg or promotional tool for these stories to be both damaging and careless.
“The chilling part? The fact that my name is the first name in the headline of the article. And not just that article, but every single article reporting on this story.
“Whilst I understand reporters want their stories read by as many people as possible, just paper clipping my name to something like this is extremely lazy, careless and insensitive.
“Not to mention, doing so has far reaching real-world repercussions for me and my family.”
The Independent Press Standards Organisation told Press Gazette it had not received any complaints about the articles referred to in her blog.
Under clause nine of the Editors’ Code of Practice it states that “relatives or friends of persons convicted or accused of crime should not generally be identified without their consent, unless they are genuinely relevant to the story”.
Beckford has been found guilty of shooting a man dead outside a snooker club over a gang dispute in Birmingham in 2015. He is due to be sentenced tomorrow.
Jamelia said she lived in fear that someone could kill her as an act of retribution because of what has been written in newspapers about her connection with Beckford.
Jamelia also claimed the articles had damaged her work prospects, saying that three major channels in talks with her about projects said they would have to “change direction” due to recent press about her.
Her daughter also had to cancel a sleepover at a friend’s home because of the stories, according to the blog.
Speaking on Channel 4 News last night, Jamelia said she thought the coverage was racist and that it spoke to a “lack of diversity in the media industry”, adding: “If you don’t have [diversity] in newsrooms, we don’t stand a chance.”
Press Gazette has contacted outlets mentioned in the singer’s blog for responses. Headlines on most of the stories continue to reference her.
A BBC spokesperson said: “We have amended the story to remove the reference to Jamelia from the headline and the first paragraph as on reflection we felt that it was unduly prominent.”
Picture: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett