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Comment: The PCC should not be dismantled

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  1. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire

    That quotation basically sums up the situation.
    Either allow free speech, or shut everyone up.
    There is no grey area.

  2. So if I wrote an article that claimed Jews controlled the world banks and were responsible for the financial crisis, it would be totally ok and not anti-semitic so long as I’m careful not to include any direct slurs or abusive language?

    DO we really want to go down that route?

    We live in a society where hate crimes are rising and violence against us is still common place because of evil bigots like Moir and her enablers who repeatedly make it clear that GBLT people are worth less, are worthy of derision and hatred and constantly try to demonise us.

    She may not actively incite violence. But she has blood on her hands

    It’s ironic that a prank phone call from people at the BBC was censured and attacked in the strongest terms – but an article that derided and demonised a minority that faces daily persecution is dismissed.

    And no, it’s not over and it’s not closed. Because we have set a new standard. We now have a journalistic standard where, so long as you’re careful not to use the word “fag”, you can attack gays willynilly with no kind of oversight or accountability. Far more than Jan Moir’s original toxin, this ruling is damaging – because it has greatly upped the bar one what would be considered grossly offensive, bigoted and damaging ‘journalism’

  3. What about the obvious inacurracies in that article? that’s got nothing to do with freedom of expression.

  4. Everybody talks about the right to freedom of speech but we never talk abut the responsibilities that come with that freedom.

    Until the PCC is a independent body its decisions will always be seen as suspect.

  5. The Moir article was nasty, snide, mean spirited and couched in those phrases and words that the Daily Mail know how to use so well to finger point like the proverbial snide playground bully. But, much as it pains me, I think the PCC verdict was the only sensible one. We should fight such attacks and 25,000 people made their views clear. But we cannot go down the road of stifling free speech – we would be the greater losers.

    The Daily Mail has not won but merely shown itself up for what it is – a rather pathetic narrow minded publication. Doing a ‘Daily Mail’ is increasingly becoming accepted into common language for the act of deliberately writing a nasty piece – dressed up in moral indignation – about someone you disapprove of and dislike.

  6. Jessica is wrong on this one. As pointed out, the article spread lies about what happened. These were published all over the world as truth. There needs to be accountability in the press. And, as Sparky points out, not all minorities are equal. When I see this kind of hateful, fabricated, offensive material printed about Jews, Blacks, Moslums, the royalty and MP’s, then I’ll agree it’s freedom of the press. Until then, it’s just one more example of how gays and lesbians can be denigrated with impunity.

  7. Sister Mary clarence 18 Feb 2010, 5:01pm

    The article attempted to pass opinion and conjecture as cold hard fact, yetI suspect the producers will be crucified if the slightest detail was incorrect in the broadcast about Mrs Robinson.

  8. I reluctantly must agree with Jessica Green. The unprecedented public wrath stirred up by Jan Moir’s poisonous article is a far more effective remedy than institutionalised gagging which simply martyrs bigots and silences prejudices which need to be aired and challenged. Public anger makes people pay attention to the issues. I hold to the old principle that only direct incitement to violence or law-breaking must be suppressed. Otherwise, let people say what they like – and take the flak.

  9. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. Would Moir’s freedom of speech have been curtailed had the PCC censured her? What would have been the consequences had they actually said she crossed a line? Would she have been imprisoned, fired, fined or in any other way punished? Nope. To suggest that the PCC’s actions are somehow preserving free speech is a nonsense. The PCC is using the ‘free speech’ argument – when no threat to free speech is presenting itself – in the hope that people will be taken in by a smokescreen. It appears Jessica has fallen for the trick.

  10. Frankly the PCC decision not to censure the Daily Mail for its prolonged hate campaign last year against gay adoption was a far more serious issue. That’s why I didn’t bother joining the 20,000+ people who complained about the Jan Moir piece.

  11. I agree with Jessica and equally importantly, with dave in comment 10 above. The hate campaign against the couple who adopted the child of a drug addict was disgraceful (SIX Daily Mail journalists in on the act), where were the PCC then?

    I wonder though – maybe the PCC should be dismantled anyway.

    Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, the blogosphere, the comments section under the Moir article, helped pull this silly cow down to earth. The people did it – we don’t need a self serving, dependent, unelected, unrepresentative body, which is what the PCC is, to tell us what to think.

    In the internet age has brought all journalists down to earth. And who else will employ Mrs Moir now? I’m pretty confident her career is in tatters* as a result of her unfounded, non-true claims. That is good enough for me.

    * she can always admit to being wrong of course. That would be a breath of fresh air for a journalist.

  12. I’m inclined to agree with this article.

    I think it’s important to have a free press. The Daily Mail may not have been penalised by the PCC but it received a clear message from the public that this kind of article was not ok. I think you want poor journalism to encounter this kind of response rather than be censored and pass itself for a martyr of political correctness.

    It would have been nice if the ruling had recognised and criticised the regrettable homophobic tone of the article but I agree that a free press is precious.

  13. Simon Murphy 18 Feb 2010, 7:36pm

    If Moir had written a ‘carefully worded’ article about the ‘merits’ of anti-semitism or the ‘happy ever after myth of responsible black fathers’ it quite simply would not have been published. It would have been censored by the editor before publication.

    The PCC’s job is not to safeguard freedom of the press. It is to maintain journalistic standards.

    I think it is usually inappropriate for an industry to be self-regulating when it comes to standards of behaviour.

    Banks were de-regulated in the late 1990’s. The government trusted them to do their own ‘self-regulation’. And look at the disastrous consequences for the entire country.

    Freedom of speech is not dependent on a self-regulating press. The press needs to be held to high standards. And if the PCC will defend a vicious, spiteful character assassination disguised as ‘fact’ in the name of ‘freedom of the press'; then sorry, but I don’t trust the press to self regulate.

    I don’t want a government regulator. I want an PCC which is independent of the government and free from conflict of interest.
    There is a clear conflict of interest at play. Paul Dacre was instrumental in creating the PCC’s code. He therefore knew enough to know that Moir’s article was gross and foul, but just the right side of legal. That is wrong.

    At the current time in Uganda they are about to legislate for genocide of gay people. I’ll bet the gay people there aren’t too concerned about press freedom if the press are calling for their execution.

  14. I think this ‘comment’ by Jesssica Geen is even more frustrating than the original article by Moir – especially as it’s written by a contributor to Pinknews. Geen makes sweeping statements here that undermine the integrity of Pinknews as “Europe’s largest gay news service”.

    The calls for the PCC to be dismantled started long before the complaints about the disgraceful article by Moir. There are two issues 1) The press (and I refer mainly to the tabloids) being out of control in this country and 2) the specific Moir article regarding the death of Stephen Gately. Geen suggests in her ‘comment’ that the calls for the dismantling of the PCC have come as a result of the Moir article. This is misleading and typical of the current state of journalism in this country.

    The press (all forms including printed, digital, online etc etc) has an enormous influence over public opinion and public perception. To suggest that freedom of expression overules any other consideration is simply a hollow argument. We must all take responsibility for what we do and say and it’s outragous to believe that the press are exempt. If a newspaper constantly tells its readers that LGBT people are second class citizens and refers to us in a demeaning way eventually its readers will believe this and may well act on their own prejudice – especially when combined with peer pressure, mob mentality etc. Nobody is born to hate – it has to be learned and I absolutely believe that the press have played a role in breeding a culture of hate towards LGBT people. You only have to look at some of the more disturbing headlines to see this. For example, why is Alex Reid constantly referred to as “Katie Prices Tranny boyfriend”? It’s insulting and it’s demeaning. On its own it is just unpleasant – but that’s the point it’s not just a single headline it is part of an orchestrated campain of prejudice.

    And it’s not just inflamatory headlines that are used by the press – they also manipulate language to twist facts and cause bias. For example, in Geens ‘comment’ she says “Even more disturbing for the issue of press freedom were the two police complaints demanding a criminal investigation against Moir.” By using the words ‘police complaint’ and ‘demanding’ a criminal investigation Geen completely twists what is itself an important freedom – to be able to complain to police. Any person is free to make an allegation to police where they feel an offence has been commited and that they may have been a victim of said offence. It’s the role of the police and the CPS to decide if an offence has been commited or not. Nobody ‘demands’ an investigation. Its just symantics I know but to me it’s yet another example of the way journalists manipulate language to suit their own views.

    Any organisation or group that has such an enormous influence on public opinion and public behaviour should be properly regulated. In my mind, there is no doubt that the PCC is a sham organisation (I won’t dwell on this as it should be clear to anybody that this is the case).

    Finally, what outrages me mostly about Geens ‘comment’ is the last paragraph. To dismiss the distress caused by Moirs article by saying that it “obviously hurt the feelings of Gately’s family” is insulting. It did a hell of a lot more than hurt someone’s feelings. In fact, it was so disgraceful that over 25 000 people felt the need to complain to the PCC. I would say that’s more than hurt feelings, and Geen doesn’t even acknowledge the distress caused to the LGBT community at large.

  15. Amusing to see that some people appear to agree with both Peter Tatchell and the contents of this article by Jessica Geen.

    It remains a fact that Moir degraded unions between gay people by saying that the happiness of our unions is a myth.

    That remains a hateful comment.

    It bolstered the hatred of gays and lesbians by the average Daily Mail reader.

    Publishing material which bolsters hatred of gays and lesbians is supposed to be illegal.

    Full-bloody-stop.

    Some people to need to get off their backs and stop being passive!

    There ought to a fuc*ing RIOT over the PCC’s announcement.

    And certain journalists OUGHT to be stirring it up!

  16. And I am going to exercise my freedom of speech. By promoting homophobic hatred in her column, I think that Jan Moir is a C**t. Hope she isn’t offended by me exercising my right to say what I think.

  17. Seriously??? Really??? Not in my book, no way!!! So as long as I’m careful not to outrightly abuse someone I can say what I like about whomever I like and that would be okay because it’s free speech? I would test it out right here but I’m betting my post would be censored and removed!!!!! Um……double standards and a pathetic result to defend a pathetic paper. Good job I have free will and am repelled from ever buying the thing!!

  18. I’M OFFENDED!!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAGJpISVERg

    Steve Hughes has got it in a nutshell.

  19. Jessica is absolutely right. Had the PCC ruled against The Daily Mail, then it may as well have removed a letter ‘c’ from its name and been done with it. We are becoming reactionary attack dogs and lynch mobs for a Government is seeking to criminalise all forms of freedom of expression. Jan Moir’s disgracefully rabid article spoke for itself and was attacked from all sectors of society. The Daily Mail won’t be quick to publish such dross again. It did not require a ruling from the PCC to tell us what we already knew; an admission that could result in its future muzzling. Move on!

  20. Simon Murphy 19 Feb 2010, 12:58am

    Rob: No 18: you say: “We are becoming reactionary attack dogs and lynch mobs for a Government is seeking to criminalise all forms of freedom of expression.”

    Please explain why an article which stated that the marital difficulties of Cheryl Cole and her husband was a blow to the ‘myth of happy ever after myth of mixed raced marriages’ would NEVER be published?

    The government is not trying to regulate the press. The calls for fair press regulation are coming from the LGBT population.

    An article attacking mixed race marriages would be censored before publication as it would be deemed to be too offensive. There would be no bullshit arguements about ‘freedom of speech’. It would not get printed. At all.

    Moir wrote an intentionally abusive, spiteful, inaccurate piece. Freedom of press should not mean freedom to be needlessly abusive.

  21. Pete – you are perfectly free to run to make complaints about articles you don’t like – and we are perfectly within our rights to ridicule you for being an idiot.

    PS I don’t care about 25,000. If it hurt 25 people or 250,000 people, it is irrelevant; the number of people offended does not add to or diminish the validity of the complaint.

  22. (if you complain to the police, that is)

  23. This has now become more about the credibility of the PCC than the damming and offensive article by Ms Moir. About time everyone knew exactly what the PPC actually stands for and if its remit has any substance any more! and who exactly is the PCC? Who makes up it’s body and comes to these decisions? Becauce if it cannot be seen as a truly independent body from the media it is meant to be regulating, then it is bound to be biased and therefore it’s judgements irrelevant.

  24. Let’s get this nailed down. What did this article ultimately do? It ‘hurt’ someone. What, like Jan Moir personally lobbed a brick at someone? No. They were “offended”. Well big fat f_ckin’ hairy deal. Live with it. I’m offended by this constant queenie moaning. We all get offended once in a while by something or someone, but what ACTUALLY happens? I’ll tell you: Nothing. Zip. Diddly-squat. Nada.

    So please get off your high horses and let people say what they want. If you don’t like it, complain, if it makes you feel any better. It sure as hell won’t make a difference.

  25. RobN – yet again you miss the point and engage in your typical aggressive, nastiness to make your point.

    This article is not about Jan Moir.

    It is about the PCC.

    You’ve avoided actually mentioning whether you think an organisation like the PCC should be reformed (bearing in mind that the PCC engages in self regulation and has no transparency about how they reach their decisions.

    I really don’t understand why you post here. Your endless queeny bitchiness about so many gay people really makes it confusing as to why you post here. You are a Daily Mail person. Wouldn’t you feel more at home over there?

  26. Oh, wrap up, RobN. We’ve had your self-hating gay-hating bleating comments on these threads for months and we also know you just love to take the opposite view in order to stir things up and, in your own words, get a good row going. Every post your write is just another damning blow to the myth that older homosexuals are wiser homosexuals.

  27. I agree with this in principle and I do this Jan Moir’s article although was vile was more sheer ignorance than homophobia. However I do have to say, would this article have been acceptable if it had been written about a straight black person? Or indeed a Muslim. The answer no, it wouldn’t. So why is it fine to be selective about who we insult. I guess it’s more about easy targets and who shouts the loudest.

  28. Here is the Daily Anorak’s take on the whole thing (it’s long):

    http://www.anorak.co.uk/239856/media/stephen-gately-how-the-media-feasted-off-the-boyzone-stars-remains.html

    “Stephen Gately: How The Media Feasted Off The Boyzone Star’s Remains
    STEPHEN Gately, of Boyzone, died and the media set out to bury him. From the off the tabloids got the facts wrong. The Mail swiftly introduced tales of “suicide” and abuse directed at Gately for his gayness.
    It was an international free for all. This from German tabloid Bild:
    BOYZONE’S STEPHEN GATELY IS SAID TO HAVE DIED AFTER CHOKING ON HIS OWN VOMIT FOLLOWING A BOOZE AND DRUGS BINGE – WHILE HIS HUSBAND WAS HAVING SEX NEXT DOOR.
    How Gately died was a matter of betting. The Sun told us of that gayness over and over:
    Stephen’s gay partner ANDY COWLES, 32, also admitted to detectives the star had been smoking the drug, a police source said.
    And then in rode Jan Moir who told readers:
    There are dozens of household names out there with secret and not-so-secret troubles, or damaging habits both past and present.
    Robbie, Amy, Kate, Whitney, Britney; we all know who they are. And we are not being ghoulish to anticipate, or to be mentally braced for, their bad end: a long night, a mysterious stranger, an odd set of circumstances that herald a sudden death.
    The media firestorm hit. The Mail sensed wrong and changed Moir’s online headline from “Why there was nothing ‘natural’ about Stephen Gately’s death” to “A strange, lonely and troubling death . . .”

    Moir relased a statement defending herself and talking of her standing in the gay community.
    The gay community had their weekly meeting. The hall was busy with lesbian, black Jews for Islam, so the gays went on Twitter. Moir wrote of the 25000 haters:
    “In what is clearly a heavily orchestrated internet campaign I think it is mischievous in the extreme to suggest that my article has homophobic and bigoted undertones.”
    Gays screamed “yes“. Knives wer out for Moir. The Sun escaped. Officla complaints were made to official media officials. MacGuffin of Tabloid Watch sums up:
    TO the surprise of absolutely no-one, the Press Complaints Commission have rejected complaints about Jan Moir’s homophobic article about the death of Stephen Gately.
    Some have seen a conspiracy in the fact that Mail Editor Paul Dacre chairs the Code of Practice Committee, while Mail on Sunday Editor Peter Wright sits on the decision-making Commission.
    But there is no conspiracy: the PCC are always this useless and ineffectual.
    Essentially, the PCC have said that to rule against Moir and the Mail would have meant they were acting against freedom of speech and:
    This would be a slide towards censorship, which the Commission could not endorse.
    This is a bit of a red herring. To censure a journalist for writing lies is not censorship. It’s what effective regulation should do.
    They also repeat that as this was a columnist’s opinion piece, there is more leeway on what can be said. Indeed, it seems at times that the PCC believes a columnist can say just about anything and, as it is an opinion piece, it’s beyond criticism.
    That doesn’t fully apply in this case. After all, one of Moir’s main themes was that this death was not ‘natural’. This is not about interpretation of facts. This is whether something is correct or it isn’t. And when Moir wrote:
    healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again
    she was factually wrong. The PCC claim this:
    could not be established as accurate or otherwise.
    Yet the postmortem said it was natural and the Mail itself has published the results of the official investigation saying the death was from ‘natural causes’.
    So how can the PCC state this ‘could not be established as accurate or otherwise’?
    They go on to say:
    It admittedly did not take into account the possibility of SADS or similar, but the Commission did not consider that it could be read to be an authoritative and exhaustive statement of medical fact.
    True, most people wouldn’t rely on Moir’s opinion for anything, least of all medical expertise. But this just looks like the PCC finding weasel-words to avoid upholding the complaint.
    (See also the time they ruled that when Melanie Phillips said ‘the fact is…’ what followed shouldn’t have been understood to be a fact, because the article was an opinion piece.)
    So although the PCC say Moir’s piece was:
    a compendium of speculations
    it did not violate Clause 1 of the Code which says:
    The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information
    Hmm.
    It’s worth looking at some of the other issues raised by the PCC’s lengthy adjudication.
    Clause 5 of the Code covers intrusion into grief and says publication of articles should be ‘handled sensitively’. Moir’s vicious article was published the day before Gately’s funeral. Her follow-up column apologised for this (and only for this):
    I would like to say sorry if I have caused distress by the insensitive timing of the column, published so close to the funeral.
    Yet the PCC chooses not to rule against Moir on this point, even though she admitted it was ‘insensitive’ and the Code says handling must be ’sensitive’. It is decisions such as that that make people scratch their heads about how the PCC works.
    But, interestingly, the PCC do include some criticism, if rather veiled, of Paul Dacre:
    The timing of the piece was questionable to say the least, and the Commission considered that the newspaper’s editorial judgement in this regard could be subject to legitimate criticism.
    Not that the PCC is going to rule against the Mail because of that, it’s just going to point out criticism of them for the timing is ‘legitimate’.
    No wonder Editors do not want the PCC to change.
    Paul Dacre is Chair of the Code of Practice Committee. His is the most complained about newspaper, he’s responsible for the most complained about single article and has now been criticised for his ‘editorial judgement’. And yet he is still considered suitable to make the rules that journalists have to abide by. That simply isn’t acceptable.
    In its defence, the Mail said:
    The record number of complaints was an internet phenomenon ‘whipped up in a few hours on the social networks of Facebook and Twitter’ and had to be kept in perspective.
    This from the paper that ‘whipped up’ the entire Sachsgate furore. And the difference is stark: at least in the Moir case, people could – and did – read the article. Only a few of the complainants about the Sachsgate broadcast actually heard the show.
    The hypocrisy is breathtaking.
    When discussing Clause 12, which covers discrimination, the PCC say:
    The question of whether the article was homophobic or discriminatory to gay people in general did not fall under the remit of the Code.
    This seems very surprising, and presumably applies to all articles, not just this one.
    But this appears to be a problem not with the Code (the discrimination clause is actually very good) but the narrow interpretation of it by the PCC. Do they really think judging whether an article is homophobic is not within their remit?
    They go on to say:
    The columnist had not used pejorative synonyms for the word ‘homosexual’ at any point.
    This clearly isn’t good enough. Just because a newspaper or columnist doesn’t use some crass slang insult doesn’t mean it’s not being homophobic or discriminatory. Adopting arguments such as this one make the PCC look as if they are doing everything possible to avoid ruling against the papers.
    The PCC add:
    it was not possible to identify any direct uses of pejorative or prejudicial language in the article.
    Really? So when she said Gately:
    could barely carry a tune in a Louis Vuitton trunk
    that was nothing to do with his sexuality? (She said a few days later he was ‘talented’). And nor was:
    the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle.
    Nor this:
    Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael. Of course, in many cases this may be true.
    That was when she was talking about civil partnerships where she claimed Gately’s death struck
    another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.
    This followed on from her mention of the entirely unrelated case of Kevin McGee. The Mail in their defence said this was:
    relevant comment
    The PCC ruled the linking of these was:
    illogical.
    They are right about that. But what really annoyed people was the suggestion that this said something about civil partnerships. She later denied this, but it was too late. And the PCC say her view on this, although ‘illogical’ was not inaccurate or misleading.
    But in what way was she right in what she said about civil partnerships?
    Moreover, she never said that the antics of Tiger Woods or John Terry (and she wrote about both) struck a blow for the myth of happy-ever-after heterosexual partnerships. Why not?
    In sum, the PCC said it was ‘uncomfortable’ with Moir’s ‘distasteful’ ‘compendium of speculations’, it was at times ‘illogical’ and the timing was ‘questionable’.
    Yet they say it was neither inaccurate (it was), intrusive into grief (it was) or discriminatory (it was).
    And so, apart from that exceptionally mild criticism, they aren’t going to do a thing about it – TW”

  29. Nobody was talking about stricter regulation, Jessica. The PCC acting on breaches of its own code instead of denying breaches have taken place would be a great start; that, and we need an independent PCC that in no way can be accused, rightly or wrongly, of bias in favour of certain newspaper editors. Is this really such a tall order for you, Jessica? If so, why?

  30. If the Jan Moir affair is really over and closed, then why is the verbally incontinent Jessica Geen still spouting her incoherent drivel on the subject?

    All she has done with this pathetic opinion piece is show that she is a tragic bimbo who couldn’t rationalise her way out of a paper bag.

    Then again, given Pink News’ appalling history on fact checking, are any of us really surprised?

  31. Here are the contact details of the PCC:

    Stephen Abell – Director
    stephen.abell@pcc.org.uk

    Kim Baxter – PA to the Chairman and Director
    kim.baxter@pcc.org.uk

    jonathan.collett@pcc.org.uk

    William Gore – Public Affairs Director
    will.gore@pcc.org.uk

    Scott Langham – Head of Complaints
    scott.langham@pcc.org.uk

    to @pcc.org.uk”>stephen.abell@pcc.org.uk

    @pcc.org.uk”>kim.baxter@pcc.org.uk,
    @pcc.org.uk”>jonathan.collett@pcc.org.uk,
    @pcc.org.uk”>will.gore@pcc.org.uk,
    @pcc.org.uk”>scott.langham@pcc.org.uk

    Dear Mr Abell

    In light of the decision by the PCC to reject the complaints made about the factually inaccurate; offensive; homophobic, intrusive column by Jan Moir about the death of Stephen Gately, I would like you to confirm how this decision was reached.

    Was there a conflict of interest at work? Was there someone from the Mail Group of newspapers involved in the decision?

    What is being done to make the PCC decision making process more transparent and independent?

    While I support a free press I would remind you that this does not mean that journalists have a right to lie and to write articles whose sole purpose is to be needlessly homophobic and abusive.

    I personally feel that through its failure to offer the gay community any redress for viciously homophobic ‘journalism’ (or incitement to give it a more accurate description) the PCC is not fit for purpose.

    Self regulation by the British press clearly does not work and I an outside independent regulatory body is urgently required
    Yours

  32. Everyone who supports a “Free” press, please tell me: when are we going to get one? We have the Conrad Black, and the opinions of the Murdoch demons. Newspapers publish opinion as fact, and when they get facts wrong, as in Jan Moir’s case, they are censured. Unless, as in Jan Moir’s case, the facts are wrong about LGB or T people, in which situation they are let off scott free. Please explain to me, RobN how this is right?

    In EVERY accusation of homophobia you need to ask yourself if it would be acceptabe in a racial context? In Jan Moir’s case again it would not be so acceptable; no one would allow her to write “this is another nail in the myth of the happy ever after interracial marriage”. Yet she is allowed to denigrate LGBT partnerships – again the inference is that LGBT partnerships are pretend partnerships, not real ones.

    Once again, I am not looking for special rights, but I expect equal rights. Why is this so hard?

  33. MattB: “In EVERY accusation of homophobia you need to ask yourself if it would be acceptabe in a racial context?”

    My question to you is define “acceptable”. Personally, I think it is wrong that descriptions of criminals no longer pubish their colour unless it “incites racial hatred.” – We can know he was tall with a red top, but stating a skin colour is a lot more obvious, yet because all this correctness crap, everyone is frightened to say anything.

    I think we need to be less selective, not more so, and develop thicker skins. If it turns out a four-eyed fatso ginger git with a peg-leg did it, the so what? Everyone gets called names on occasion, so there’s your equal rights. Live with it.

  34. Elizabeth Montague-Cholmondley 21 Feb 2010, 2:36pm

    Oh dear. What it seems you have failed to comprehend above, Mr RobN, is that while accurate description is a fine thing, the terms of the description used can be quite otherwise.

    Your example of police searching for a “four-eyed fatso ginger git with a peg-leg” suggests a failure on your part to understand the abusive powers of language.

    It seems to me you need to learn and to perceive that the hatred you have expressed (or “the humour”, as you may prefer to term it) in your hypothetical description, is quite unnecesary.

    You may not find the selection of objective language as emotionally satisfying, of course – that I understand. There are some people who must derive emotional satisfaction from pejorative name-calling at every possible opportunity. It satisfies must gnawing inner “cancer of the soul”, as I call it.

    If, on the other hand, you were to derive any personal satisfaction from virtuous behaviour, of a far higher moral order, then you may instead seek to find “a ginger-haired male, who wears glasses, and who has a discernible artificial leg”.

    I do hope you at least try to see that the above usage may enable you to find your criminal while not insulting and alienating from yourself everybody else in the land who has ginger hair or who wears glasses or who has an artificial limb.

  35. Elizabeth Montague-Cholmondley: You omitted to mention I also called him ‘Fatso’.

    However in keeping with the spirit of your description, Police are now looking for “A ginger-haired male, who wears glasses, and who has a discernible artificial leg and quite obviously eats way too many pies”.

  36. What a disappointing little piece from Ms Geen.

    Ms Geen, please read SimonM’s thoughtful and clear arguments as to why the PCC ruling was a piece of measel-mouth twaddle, and for handing over the role of setting standards in the press to a truely independent body capable of making good judgements (not tightening regulation). This is not about freedom of speech: it is about maintaining the credibility of the press by having it abide by high standards of journalism.

    I am tempted to call for your sacking from PinkNews for what you have written (it’s not the first time you’ve produced twaddle), but we’ve already been down that route with Moir. No doubt your editor is watching carefully. I hope so.

  37. Malcolm Parker 24 Feb 2010, 1:10pm

    The PCC is currently holding an independent review of its governance, which will examine the operation of the PCC board, subcommittees and secretariat; how transparency in the system can be enhanced; whether the independent systems of accountability – the Charter Commissioner and Charter Compliance Panel – can be improved; and the PCC’s Article of Association.
    Anyone with concerns about the PCC’s current effectiveness in self-regulating should write to Vivien Hepworth, Press Complaints Commission, Halton House, 20/23 Holborn, London EC1N 2JD.

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