Thursday, 21 March 2013

PCC: Julie Burchill Ruling

The Press Complaints Commission have decided not to take any action over Julie Burchill's disgusting transphobic article in The Observer in January.
Here's the ruling in full on the Changing Journeys blog.
In fine the PCC just repeated what they always say, they only act if an invidual had been attacked, not a category of people.

The Commission first considered the complaints, framed under Clause 12, that the article had contained a number of remarks about transgender people that were pejorative and discriminatory. It noted that the Observer had accepted that these remarks were offensive, and that it had made the decision to remove the article on the basis that the language used fell outside the scope of what it considered reasonable; however, the Observer denied a breach of Clause 12 because the article had not made reference to any specific individual. Clause 12 states that newspapers “must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability”. However, the clause does not cover references to groups or categories of people. The language used in the article did not refer to any identifiable individual, but to transgender people generally. While the Commission acknowledged the depth of the complainants’ concerns about the terminology used, in the absence of reference to a particular individual, there was no breach of Clause 12.

For what it's worth, I agree with this position.
My disgust and anger over this is that a supposedly "liberal" newspaper such as The Observer presumably thought it would be amusing and provocative to publish this hate-filled trash in the first place.
But this is the economy of the mass media; outrage gets publicity which sells papers. 

Thanks to Trans Media Watch. Here's their submission to Leveson on how the tabloids demonise the trans community.


  1. You agree with the PCC? Is nowhere free from disgusting transphobia?

  2. Could you please explain what you mean - it's left me baffled.