The Press Complaints Commission has revealed details of the number of ‘desist’ warnings it has put out to journalists for the last three years.
These are warnings put out to editors to stop potential harassment when the subject of a story wants journalist to stop contacting them.
In 2010 there were 110 such notices, in 2011 there were 119 in the first six months of the year and 27 in the second half and so far there have been 66 in the first six months of this year.
The Guardian suggests that the figures are evidence that after the Milly Dowler hacking revelations and the establishment of the Leveson Inquiry (from July 2011 onwards) the press has been more cautious but that this year journalists have been up to their old tricks again.
However, the changes in the figures could be down to huge number of other factors as well.
Advisory and desist notices are sent around confidentially to all editors. Their existence is usually kept private.
In 2010, journalist Chris Wheal asked the PCC to toughen up its stance on protecting the bereaved when he revealed that journalists continued to contact his family even though they had been asked not to following the death of his young nephew in an accident.