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Caroline’s Law: Petition calls for law change to protect those in the public eye


by Erin Lindsay
17th Feb 2020

Following Caroline Flack’s sudden death this week, a petition to prevent further similar deaths has garnered over 500,000 signatures


A new petition calling for stricter laws around safeguarding celebrities from exploitative tabloid coverage has received over half a million signatures online.

The petition, which is available to sign on the website 38Degrees, has been put forward for the attention of the House of Commons and Oliver Dowden, the UK Secretary of State for Media. The petition calls for a law change, dubbed Caroline’s Law, in light of the recent death of presenter Caroline Flack, that would make it a criminal offence for the British media to “knowingly and relentlessly bully a person, whether they be in the public eye or not, up to the point that they take their own life”, in a manner similar to the offence of corporate manslaughter.

Caroline Flack was 40 when she was found dead in her home in East London on Saturday. A lawyer The former presenter of Love Island was also well-known for her hosting of The X Factor, The Xtra Factor, and for her appearance as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2014, where she went on to win the series.

Caroline had been subject to increased media attention recently, when the police were called to her home in December of last year after she allegedly assaulted her boyfriend. She was awaiting trial for the assault charge when she died.

Change to the law

A number of other petitions have appeared online following Caroline’s death, calling for the UK government to introduce stricter laws around the exploitation of those in the public eye. One petition, hosted on Change.org, has received almost 300,000 signatures. It was set up by actress Stephanie Davis, who, after appearing on Celebrity Big Brother in 2016, also experienced increased media and social media attention.

In a video on the petition, Stephanie says that the UK media are “a disgrace” and that the petition is aimed at all “who have blood on their hands” following Caroline’s death. Her petition calls for stricter laws to prevent media outlets publishing information or quotes without evidence or reliable sources, sharing private information about a celebrity that may prove detrimental to their mental health, and paparazzi taking and publishing photos without the subject’s permission.

If you have been affected by the news of Caroline’s death, and want to talk to someone, you can contact Samaritans free at any time at 116 123. Resources are also available at www.crimevictimshelpline.ie, who you can call free at 116 006, or from Women’s Aid, at 1800 341 900.


Read more: Family confirms Love Island presenter Caroline Flack’s death

Read more: Coercive control: 10 warning signs and where to go for help

Read more: Online harassment and trolling: how to handle cyber-bullying as an adult

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