Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Just Sent a Strong Message to UK Tabloids: Inside Their ‘Zero Engagement’ Policy

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex won’t be communicating with four UK tabloids, as they explained in a letter sent to the editors of The Sun, the Daily Mail, Daily Express, and Daily Mirror. Their message is clear: they no longer will engage with these outlets and “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their visit to Canada House
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan cut off four British tabloids

After exiting the royal family, the Sussexes are embarking on their next chapter and they’re kicking it off by laying down some ground rules. First, they’ve communicated with four UK tabloids to inform them of a new media relations policy.

A letter was sent to The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express, and Daily Mirror to explain their new policy. “As The Duke and Duchess of Sussex now settle into the next chapter of their lives and no longer receive any publicly funded support, we are writing to set a new media relations policy, specifically as it pertains to your organization,” the letter begins.

It continues, “Like you, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex believe that a free press is a cornerstone to any democracy — particularly in moments of crisis. At its best, this free press shines light on dark places, telling stories that would otherwise go untold, standing up for what’s right, challenging power, and holding those who abuse the system to account.”

Prince Harry and Meghan want truth in reporting

“It has been said that journalism’s first obligation is to the truth,” their letter explains, noting, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex agree wholeheartedly.”

To that end, the Sussexes are standing firm in supporting those outlets who will report on the truth while quieting those who stir up rumors about the couple.

Their letter continues, “It is gravely concerning that an influential slice of the media, over many years, has sought to insulate themselves from taking accountability for what they say or print — even when they know it to be distorted, false, or invasive beyond reason. When power is enjoyed without responsibility, the trust we all place in this much-needed industry is degraded.”

The Sussexes’ letter notes, “There is a real human cost to this way of doing business and it affects every corner of society. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they know — as well as complete strangers — have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue.”

Prince Harry and Meghan explain this isn’t ‘about avoiding criticism’

The Sussexes further clarify that they aren’t attempting to avoid criticism or censor “accurate reporting” and are applying this “zero engagement” policy to only these outlets.

The letter shares, “With that said, please note that The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be engaging with your outlet. There will be no corroboration and zero engagement. This is also a policy being instated for their communications team, in order to protect that team from the side of the industry that readers never see.”

“This policy is not about avoiding criticism,” they explain. “It’s not about shutting down public conversation or censoring accurate reporting. Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can’t be based on a lie.”

Further, the letter shares, “They also want to be very clear: this is not in any way a blanket policy for all media. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to working with journalists and media organizations all over the world, engaging with grassroots media, regional and local media, and young, up-and-coming journalists, to spotlight issues and causes that so desperately need acknowledging. And they look forward to doing whatever they can to help further opportunities for more diverse and underrepresented voices, who are needed now more than ever.”

“What they won’t do is offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion,” they conclude. “We are encouraged that this new approach will be heard and respected.”