Friday, 18 January 2013

PCC: How Not To Make A Complaint

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is to launch an inquiry into the Observer’s decision to publish a transphobic article by Julie Burchill.
The commission acted after receiving 800 complaints from members of the public in relation to the article, which was eventually removed from, the website of the Observer’s sister paper.
In a piece headed “Transsexuals should cut it out”, Burchill described trans people as “shims”, “shemales” and “bed-wetters in bad wigs”...

Pink News.

I'm not sure anything will actually come of this "investigation", but good.
The PCC can’t and won’t do anything here.
They only consider complaints from individuals who've been directly mentioned/affected, not social groups, or people who feel angry, aggrieved or insulted.*
The PCC received a record-breaking 25,000 complaints over Jan Moir’s article in the Mail about the death of Boyzone's Stephen Gately.
They only considered one - from Stephen’s partner, Andrew Cowles.
And even that was ultimately rejected by them.

I think the Gately/Moir row made a real and important difference to press behaviour by showing the depth of people's outrage and anger, and I hope this will, too, and that it marks a turning point in how the British media treat trans people.
But it’s naive to think the PCC will act on these complaints.
Post-Leveson Report nothing will change.
Though I'm not sure what they're meant to do; say newspapers can't publish nasty things?
Those angered by this awful episode are right to concentrate on shaming The Observer over their decision to publish Julie Burchill's shitty little piece in the first place.

* See the PCC Editor's Code of Practice.

PS Statement from The Observer readers' editor, Stephen Pritchard. Summary: "We really fucked up on this one." You may want to compare it to the Guardian's grovelling apology for publishing a transphobic piece by Julie Bindel in 2004...

PPS The Unholy Trinity: Burchill, Bindel and Moore, Christopher Bryant, Polari magazine.
Great piece. 
The image above has been shamelessly stolen from Polari's site.

1 comment:

  1. Dear someone,

    I posted your first comment under another blogpost - even though I found it stupid, bigoted and offensive.

    The reason I don't post your other comments - which are always exactly the same plus some whining about you not being posted - is cause that would be very boring and repetitive.