Friday, 6 November 2009

The right to give offence

Tory blogger Iain Dale's connection to the regional press is somewhat tenuous - he writes a column for the Eastern Daily Press - so we didn't carry today's story about the PCC adjudication against him on the main site.

Nonetheless, the commission's decision to reject Mr Dale's complaint against the Daily Mail columnist Ephraim Hardcastle's description of him as "overtly gay" certainly raises some interesting issues.

It's a rather strangely worded judgement. The PCC agrees the article was "uncharitable" and "snippy" but does not accept that the use of the word "overtly" in conjunction with the word "gay" is necessarily pejorative or homophobic.

It goes on to say: "While people may occasionally be insulted or upset by what is said about them in newspapers, the right to freedom of expression that journalists enjoy also includes the right - within the law - to give offence."

Dale himself, who had initially complained that the piece was "snide" and objectionable, has been fairly restrained in his comments about the adjuducation.

Writing on his blog, he states tersely: "I'm disappointed, but I can't say I am surprised."

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