Insights Impress writes to UK Attorney General (AG) about Russell Brand Media Advisory Notice


On 22 September, the UK AG issued a Media Advisory Notice referring to the airing of the programme “Russell Brand: In Plain Sight: Dispatches” on 16 September 2023, which has since generated extensive reporting. The Notice warned against the publishing of any material where there is a risk that it could prejudice any potential criminal investigations or prosecutions, and that publishing such material could amount to contempt of court. It stated also that the AG’s office would be monitoring coverage of the allegations made against Russell Brand.

Impress, a UK body that operates a recognised scheme of independent press standards, has written to the AG questioning the Notice. It points out that there were no active criminal proceedings at the time of the Notice’s release and therefore no possibility of any publisher being in contempt of court. As such, the Notice risks stifling investigative journalism and potentially limiting free expression. Impress invited an explanation from the AG on why the warning was published, the legal basis for it, whether due consideration was given to the act being reasonable and proportionate considering the potentially chilling effect on free expression, and whether the AG’s office expects to apply similar advice in future cases.

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