Steve Barnett calls The Sun’s Ben Stokes story “a brutally commercial decision”

20 September 2019
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Following Tuesday’s reporting of cricketer Ben Stokes family tragedy, Steve Barnett has spoken out on Radio5Live, LBC and for BBC Sport, about the ‘brutally commercial decision” taken by The Sun in publishing this story.

Steve Barnett, who is also a board member for Hacked Off, told BBC Radio 5 Live that the story was “graphic evidence” of a newspaper “driving a coach and horses through their own code of conduct”.

“He’s done absolutely nothing wrong and his own family history is dragged through the mud. I can’t see any justification for this other than the fact it will sell papers. It was a brutally commercial decision which took no account of their own code of conduct, which says everyone deserves respect for their private and family life.

He also questioned the newspaper’s defence that the information had come from a family member, saying giving “carte blanche for any family member to come forward and say ‘I’ve got some dirt or story or can give you some inside track on some tragedy'” was “not a good way to run a journalistic operation”.

“Ben Stokes himself said if it was about him he could stand up and take it. He’s man enough to say I’m in the public life and will take whatever’s coming – but to do that to your family, to people who have never done anything apart from be related to you, is unforgivable,” he added.

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