More than 850,000 people have signed the petition calling for a “Caroline’s Law” to make media harassment and bullying a criminal offence, not dissimilar to corporate manslaughter. The former host of the U.K. reality series was found dead at her home in east London last month. Her family said she had taken her own life.
The petition was set up following Flack’s suicide, and was delivered to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on Tuesday morning.
Before she died, Flack had been due to go on trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend, and had been subject to a raft of commentary and scrutiny in the press and on social media.
On Tuesday, the 38 Degrees campaign group posted a video on Facebook to say their petition was delivered to the DCMS.
The petition states sections of the British press and media act with impunity, and that there have been a number of cases where they have sought to sensationalize the misfortunes of individuals to the detriment of their mental welfare.
“We’ll never truly know all of the things that were going on in Caroline’s mind when she took the decision to take her life,” says the petition. “But we do know that sections of the media were quite happy to drag her life through the wringer purely in order to sell a few more papers and it’s just not right.”
The Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO) is the regulator for the newspaper and magazine industry in the U.K., while communication watchdog Ofcom oversees television and radio broadcasters, and is to be given new powers over social media firms. However, the campaigners are calling for tighter laws.
After Flack’s death, her family released an unpublished Instagram post written in the days leading up to her suicide.
In the statement, the presenter said she had lost her job, home and “ability to speak,” and that “the truth has been taken out of my hands and used as entertainment”.