The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have told the British tabloid press that they are ceasing all co-operation because of “distorted, false or invasive” stories.
The couple sent a letter to the editors of The Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror in which they said they will not “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click bait and distortion”.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they know – as well as complete strangers – have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue,” the letter said.
The letter added: “It is gravely concerning that an influential slice of the media, over many years, has sought to insulate themselves from taking accountability for what they say or print – even when they know it to be distorted , false of invasive beyond reason. When power is enjoyed without responsibility, the trust we all place in this much-needed industry is downgraded…”
The non-engagement policy means there will be “no corroboration and zero engagement”.
Instead the pair said they are looking forward to working with “grassroots media, regional and local media, and young and up and coming journalists, to spotlight issues and causes that so desperately need acknowledging…
“What they won’t do is offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion.”
The Guardian reported the new treatment would apply to the four newspapers, their Sunday editions and their websites. The Daily Star has not been named, though it is published by the group that owns the Mirror and the Express.
The shift means Harry and Meghan’s press team will not even answer calls from the papers.
The couple have stepped back from their royal duties and are living in California.
Prior to stepping down, they launched an attack on the UK’s newspapers in a dedicated media section on their new website Sussexroyal.com.
The couple, who said they would be adopting a “revised media approach” from the spring, criticised Britain’s royal correspondents and said they would no longer participate in the “royal rota” system which has been used by Buckingham Palace for decades.
Meghan is involved in legal action against Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Mail On Sunday and Mail Online, over an article which reproduced parts of the handwritten letter sent to Thomas Markle, 75, in August 2018.
Harry described the media as a “powerful force” in an emotional speech just a day after saying he and his wife would be stepping back from royal duties.
The duke has had a complicated and difficult relationship with the press through the years.
His dislike of the media has seemingly intensified since the birth of his son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor last year.
Harry grew up fully aware of the impact of the media intrusion on the daily life of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
He was only 12 when the princess was killed in a crash after her car, driven at speed by a drunk chauffeur, was chased through the streets of Paris by the paparazzi.
Soon after he began dating Meghan, Harry attacked the media over its “abuse and harassment” of his then girlfriend, with Kensington Palace warning on his behalf: “This is not a game – it is her life.”