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Leveson: Third party complaints are a basic but vital step to improving press standards for minorities
The need to permit third party complaints on behalf of minority groups,
including disabled people, will be key to addressing what Leveson
describes as “a significant tendency within the press which leads to
the publication of prejudicial or pejorative references to race, religion,
gender, sexual orientation or physical or mental illness or disability”(Vol.
2 section 8.22)
Disabled people, alongside many other minority groups, have
experienced sustained levels of misleading, hostile and discriminatory
reporting in the press. Headlines such as ‘75% on sick are skiving’1
are inaccurate and dangerous. Recent SCOPE2 research found that
almost half of disabled people said that attitudes towards them had got
worse over the past year, with many reporting that they are increasingly
confronted by strangers questioning their right to support. Hostile and
inaccurate press was cited by disabled people as the chief cause of
increasing negative attitudes.
Disabled people, as a group, are not protected by the Editors code
or the right to make a complaint to the PCC when faced with such
inaccurate and harmful reporting. Leveson’s recommendations to allow
third party complaints, and extend the Editors Code to outlaw prejudicial
or pejorative references to minority groups as well as individuals, are
critical to ensuring a right of redress and a voice for minority groups.
This is not a slippery slope to the press being “hijacked” by “sinister”
pressure groups as Conor Burns Tory MP3 suggests. Implementing
these recommendations will give those who are so often the victims
of sensationalist and prejudicial headlines the basic right to make a
Daily Express 26 Jan 2011 http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/225311/75-on-sick-are-skiving
Attitudes to disabled people getting worse: http://www.scope.org.uk/news/attitudes-survey
Tracey Lazard: CEO Inclusion London
Tara Flood : CEO Alliance for Inclusive Education
Linda Burnip: Disabled People Against Cuts
John McArdle : Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign In Defence of
Katharine Quarmby: Journalist
John Pring: Journalist Disability News Service
Mo Stewart: Disability researcher
Dr Stephen M Carty: Medical Advisor Black Triangle
Simone Aspis: Changing Perspectives
Eleanor Lisney: Sisters of Frida
Anne Novis MBE
Stephen Brookes MBE: Coordinator – Disability Hate Crime Network
Bill Scott CEO Inclusion Scotland
John Sweeney Ucatt
LEVESON: Tory MP Conor Burns attempts to muzzle ‘third party’ complaints by disabled people and other ‘sinister’ minorities subjected to tabloid media hate and defamation campaigns Posted on December 6, 2012
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