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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Damon Wilkinson

Press watchdog not currently planning probe into coverage of Nicola Bulley disappearance

The press watchdog is not currently planning to investigate newspaper coverage of the disappearance of Nicola Bulley. But Ipso said it was not ruling out a probe after Ms Bulley's family criticised 'appalling' coverage by some media.

Ms Bulley drowned after accidentally falling into cold water, an inquest this week ruled. The 45-year-old vanished after dropping off her daughters, six and nine, at school and taking her usual dog walk along the River Wyre in St Michael’s, Lancashire, on January 27.

The search for Ms Bulley and police investigation received nationwide coverage and dominated headlines for days. Her family criticised the role the media played during the probe and accused the press of having 'taken it upon themselves to run stories about us to sell papers and increase their own profits'.

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The chief executive of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) said the watchdog is considering the case but not currently planning to launch an editorial standards investigation into some of the coverage. Charlotte Dewar told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We can conduct editorial standards investigation where there are serious and systemic breaches of the Editors’ Code.

“I think at this point on this issue we aren’t there, but we are very actively looking at it. And, of course, should it be clear that that has transpired then we would take that step.”

Offered some examples of media coverage, Ms Dewar was asked if she is happy certain headlines were not an intrusion into Ms Bulley’s family. “I haven’t said that,” she said. “We look very specifically at individual instances of concern.

“We were in touch with family liaison officers who were representing the family and other public bodies involved. We’ve given a very clear opportunity and been very, very open that we’d like to engage with them about their concerns. But at this point there’s nothing active.”

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