Queen Elizabeth Praises the News Media's 'Invaluable' Role During Coronavirus Pandemic
"The Covid-19 pandemic has once again demonstrated what an important public service the established news media provides, both nationally and regionally,” the 94-year-old British monarch said in a letter to the UK News Media Association (NMA) that was published on Monday.
"As our world has changed dramatically, having trusted, reliable sources of information, particularly at a time when there are so many sources competing for our attention, is vital," she continued.
The Queen sent her letter to mark the beginning of the NMA's 2020 Journalism Matters Week, which highlights the positive influence the traditional news media can have.
During the pandemic, this has included drawing public attention to such things as the plight of the elderly in care homes, the need for specialist respirators on Intensive Care Units and the acute shortage of personal protective equipment for frontline medical staff — something the royal family's favorite fashion brands helped to correct.
The U.K. print media has also campaigned for small businesses, launched initiatives to help people stay in touch during lockdown and run fundraising appeals for people facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.
"The efforts of the news media to support communities throughout the United Kingdom during the pandemic have been invaluable – whether through fundraising, encouraging volunteering, or providing a lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable to the outside world," the Queen added in her letter.
"As you reflect on your achievements this year, and the challenges you have faced, I send my warm good wishes to you all for a most successful and memorable week."
Writing in response to the Queen's words, NMA chairman Henry Faure Walker said, "In the news media industry, part of our job has been to help our readers make sense of these unprecedented events.
"We have reported on every twist and turn of the local and national lockdowns and kept you up to date with vital public health information."
He continued, "Sometimes, our role has been to seek clarity amid confusion from the authorities, and toxic misinformation about coronavirus spread by bad actors on social media.
"It’s a role we take very seriously."
Last week, Meghan lost a pre-trial ruling in her lawsuit against publishers Associated Newspapers and the Mail on Sunday, who she's suing for publishing extracts of what she describes as a “private and confidential” letter sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018 — three months after her wedding to Prince Harry.
Following the ruling on Sept. 29, the Mail on Sunday can now refer to information inside the new book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family for its defense.
Prince Harry, meanwhile, has filed lawsuits against News UK (owner of The Sun) and MGN (former owner of The Mirror) at the High Court in London, regarding alleged illegal interception of voicemail messages.
In Oct. 2019 Harry also issued a strong defense of his wife over what he described as the “ruthless” treatment she received in the British tabloid press.
“Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son,” Harry said a statement.
The prince went on to say that he and Meghan have “continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been."