Glaring loophole means IPSO has never upheld a racism complaint
A huge loophole in the editors’ code of ‘IPSO’ – the ‘regulator’ run by the mainstream press themselves – allows ‘MSM’ editors a free hand to be racist, just as long as they don’t name an individual, as a new article by journalism expert Brian Cathcart reminds us.
The IPSO code contains a section titled ‘Discrimination’. It says:
i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s, race, colour, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
ii) Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.
However, as Cathcart points out in his new article for Byline Times titled “Calling out Press Racism – Has Anything Changed?”, the code only bans discrimination against an individual, not against groups. Racism against Gypsy Travellers, or black people, or Asians, or Muslims, or Jewish people as a whole is not prevented by IPSO’s code.
In the six years since its code was published,
IPSO has never upheld a complaint about discrimination on grounds of race
In one of the most notorious examples, the S*n’s former political editor Trevor Kavanagh was cleared by IPSO in 2017 after using Nazi-like language in an article about the UK’s ‘Muslim problem’ – and the specific reason given by IPSO for its decision was that ‘no individual was targeted’.
At the time, Kavanagh was an IPSO board member.
In recent weeks, the racism of the mainstream press has been highlighted by its treatment of Meghan Markle, by headlines about Black Lives Matter protesters and about black MP Claudia Webbe, as well as the usual tone of any article about black, Asian or Gypsy Traveller people. After outrage about Markle’s treatment, the Society of Editors‘ director issued a statement claiming ‘the UK media is [sic] not bigoted’, before resigning after 168 journalists of colour published a letter condemning his denial. Despite the resignation of one SoE board member in disgust and an SoE promise to prepare a new statement on resignation, there has been no further action.
Cathcart, like campaign group ‘Hacked Off’, has referred to IPSO as a ‘sham’ regulator – with Hacked Off going further to say IPSO was set up to create the ‘illusion of reform’.
Skwawkbox and other left independent outlets are regulated by IMPRESS, the UK’s only Leveson-compliant pres regulator. IPSO-regulated titles spent years trying to persuade the courts to cancel IMPRESS’s recognition as a regulator by the by the Press Recognition Panel, but ultimately abandoned the attempt and had to pay IMPRESS’s costs.
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