Friday, November 06, 2009

Iain Dale complaint about the Daily Mail is not upheld by the PCC

The news that Iain Dale's complaint against the Daily Mail under clause 12 of the PCC guidelines was not upheld came as a surprise to some

In summary

The piece reported that the complainant was on the shortlist of people applying to be the Conservative candidate for the parliamentary constituency of Bracknell. It described him as ‘overtly gay', and referred to an interview he had given to Pink News in which he encouraged its readers to attend the open primary, saying it was ‘charming how homosexuals rally like-minded chaps to their cause'.
The complainant said that the article was pejorative and snide, and that his sexual orientation was irrelevant to his decision to stand as a parliamentary candidate. The implication of the word ‘overtly' was that he flaunted his sexuality, which was not the case. Read in conjunction with the comment about homosexuals sticking together, the article was homophobic.

According to the PCC

the fact that he had taken offence did not in itself mean that Clause 12 of the Code had been breached. The particular terms used, and the context of the item itself, were important here

According to Roy Greenslade,the

adjudication that illustrates the fine line that must be drawn between a newspaper's freedom to be offensive and whether that offensiveness constitutes discrimination.

He concludes that

We have to allow freedom of expression. We have to avoid censorship. And we did not set up the PCC, nor construct a code of practice, in order to deal with subjective matters of taste and discretion.


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