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Jamelia “relevant” to stories about Tafarwa Beckford's crime

"GENUINELY RELEVANT": The Independent Press Standards Organisation has not upheld Jamelia's complaint

JAMELIA WAS “genuinely relevant” to The Sun’s articles about her estranged “stepbrother’s” murder conviction, the Independent Press Standards Organisation has ruled.

The singer and TV personality had complained to press regulator about two articles published in The Sun – one headlined “Jamelia bro caged for murder” and the other “Jamelia says she’s lost work after her step-brother was found guilty of murder”.

Tafarwa Beckford was sentenced to at least 32 years in prison in December 2018 after he was convicted of shooting dead Derek Junior Myers in Birmingham in 2015.

Beckford, 36, is the son of a man who Jamelia’s mother once had a relationship with. The singer does not have on ongoing connection with him and says the familial connection has not been accurately reported.

Following the repeated coverage of Beckford’s crime Jamelia spoke out about the harmful impacts the articles had had on her, her family and her livelihood. She was mentioned in widespread coverage of the case and conviction including in articles published by the Daily Mail, The Mirror, Metro, The Telegraph and The Daily Star.

Writing in The Guardian last year, the former Loose Women panellist said: “Every time I am mentioned in these articles my job prospects are damaged. I have been in talks with three major channels about different projects, all of which have now expressed that this news has tainted my profile, and they will have to ‘change direction’. Please understand that this is how I pay my mortgage, insurance, and bills.”

The mother-of-three had argued that the articles were in breach of Clause 9 (Reporting of Crime) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

Clause 9 states that “relatives or friends of persons convicted or accused of crime should not generally be identified without their consent, unless they are genuinely relevant to the story”.

While IPSO acknowledged that she was estranged from Beckford and recognised that she had been distressed by the coverage, it found that The Sun’s reporting did not breach the Editors’ Code of Practice.

Summarising its findings, IPSO stated: “While the Committee noted that the complainant considered her identification in the previous coverage to also be unjustified, the newspaper was entitled to report on this. Where the complainant had been identified during legal proceedings, she was genuinely relevant to the story, and there was no breach of Clause 9.”

Jamelia has also suggested that racism and prejudice have played a part in why she has been repeatedly connected to Beckford’s murder case and conviction.

In her complaint, the 38-year-old also said the article perpetuated the idea that she had criminal links, which she described as narrative that was “unequally and unfairly attributed to black celebrities”.

In her opinion piece for The Guardian she contrasted her experience with that of TOWIE star Ferne McCann, whose former boyfriend was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his part in an acid attack in which 14 people were injured.

“It’s funny, because people such as TV personality Ferne McCann receive sympathy for her inadvertent criminal association, receiving opportunities to give her take on her “ordeal” – and from what I can see she continues to enjoy an unharmed career. I won’t state the obvious here,” she wrote.

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