Saturday 17 October 2009

Jan Moir: 'Is it really a matter for the PCC?'

Interesting take on the furore over Jan Moir's Daily Mail piece on Stephen Gately by Telegraph blogs editor Damian Thompson. He thinks the piece was "poisonous" but says the reaction to it raises the issue of freedom of speech.
He writes: "Socially liberal new media reckon they have humiliated a bigoted, spiteful dinosaur (and embarrassed the Daily Mail, as well).
"I spoke just now to a well-respected gay journalist whose own anti-Moir tweets have been RT’d all over the place. He did make one interesting point: “You wonder whether the question of free speech has crossed these people’s minds. Is this really a matter for the Press Complaints Commission?”
"There’s a difference, I think, between social media users who employ every rhetorical weapon at their disposal to hit back at Moir, and those who want to stop views like hers being expressed in future.
"I’m all in favour of criticising Moir for her spite, and especially the twisted leap of imagination that took her from Stephen Gately’s dead body to an argument about the nature of civil partnerships. Not only is that criticism fair, but it has worked: Moir’s reputation is in tatters this evening. But, my God, the social media world harbours some pretty smug and self-righteous individuals. The words “I’m sorry, but you’re not allowed to say that!” are never far from their lips – or, to put it another way, only liberals are allowed to be offensive."
According to the Guardian today, the PCC received more than 1,000 emails and calls yesterday complaining about Moir's article.


Anonymous said...

An interesting aspect of this affair is the fact that the Mail carried the article about Gatley - a Dubliner with a huge Irish fan base only in the UK edition.
It was not carried in the Irish Mail - clearly it was recognised that Irish readers would be offended.
The Press Council of Ireland will not thefore be asked to adjudicate!

RC said...

I don't usually agree with Damian Thompson. But this time I'm with him about the reactions by some to the Jan Moir piece.

A national newspaper should provoke debate and argument. If it doesn't, then it might as well shut up shop. Some will disagree and might even be offended by what a columnist might write. Fine, But it's dangerous if we allow the mob to start gagging people who see things differently to them. This is the Taliban Twitterati at work

Believing in free speech means not just allowing the expression of views you agree with but also those you disagree with.