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January 12, 2018

Manchester bombing inquiry panel to scrutinise role of media in aftermath of attack

By Thomas Kavanagh

An independent inquiry set up to review the Manchester Arena bombing will examine the role of the media in the aftermath of the attack.

A panel, led Lord Bob Kerslake, will scrutinise the response to the attack, including the behavior of journalists in reporting on victims and their families.

The review was commissioned by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, following the terror attack at the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017, which killed 22 people and injured hundreds more.

Relatives of those affected by the attack have criticised journalists following the attack. Dan Hett, whose brother Martyn was killed, claimed on Twitter over 50 journalists approached him before his brother was confirmed dead.

He said: “I have dealt with 50+ journos online today. Two found my mobile number. This c*** found my house. I still don’t know if my brother is alive.”

He also posted a picture of a written note put through his door by a national paper, along with a contact card.

The panel will also look into the role of social media in the aftermath of the attack. Press Gazette has previously reported on how newspapers were caught in a maelstrom of false information subsequent to the bombing.

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One breaking news story, which turned out to be false, was about a gunman marauding around the Royal Oldham Hospital. It was based on a false Facebook claim.

Lord Kerslake is a former head of the civil service and president of the Local Government Association.

He will examine the response of security and health services, as well as scrutinise the political and media reaction.

The full report is expected in March.

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