Guardian rejects concerns of Samaritans and Australian Press Council over naming lethal injection drugs

The Guardian has declined a request from the Australian Press Council to remove references to specific drugs in a report about a botched US execution.

The paper reports that Samaritans in London was also of the view that the drugs should not be named.

In the UK the Press Complaints Commission states only that in cases of suicide "care should be taken to avoid excessive detail about the method used".

Guardian readers' editor Chris Elliott said: "We concluded that that there was a countervailing public interest in naming the drugs to explain what was happening in these botched executions.

"I felt that in key stories it would be impossible for readers to evaluate how badly these judicial killings were being handled if the drugs were only described as drug A or drug B. But that didn't mean we should give details of doses or availability, or repeat the names in every story, which the Guardian has avoided."

It is a decision which may suggest The Guardian is keen to plough its own furrow rather than adhere to a particular system of regulations in one of the three main jurisdictions it operates in (US, Australia and the UK). Despite having a big editorial operation on Guardian Australia, The Guardian has not signed up to the Australian Press Council. 

The FT has bailed out of UK press regulation saying it will regulate itself, The Guardian and Independent are weighing their options. It may be that, with most of its online readers now overseas, The Guardian does not want to bind itself into one press regulation regime (particularly one that it has been a strong critic of).

If the Indy and Guardian join the FT in boycotting IPSO it will mean that three out of the top ten most read news brands in the UK (Guardian/Observer, The Independent and the Evening Standard) are all outside the new regulation regime giving it a big problem in terms of legitimacy.

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