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LABOUR’S EMILY BROTHERS CRITICAL OF REVISED EDITOR’S CODE

FRIDAY 4 DECEMBER 2015

Photo – Emily with Hacked Off Protesters Outside IPSO Offices

Photo – Emily with Hacked Off Protesters Outside IPSO Offices


Responding to the newspaper industry-led-body about changes to their Editor’s Code, Labour’s Emily Brothers has criticised the revision as a ’cosmetic exercise’. She said:
“I’m underwhelmed by the announcement that Gender identity is to be added to the list of categories covered by the discrimination clause in the Editor’s Code, which protects individuals from prejudicial and pejorative reporting. As my case so clearly demonstrated, gender identity is already covered by the definition of ‘gender’ and indeed ‘sex’ beforehand. That was not in doubt. So what is this all about?
“I’m puzzled by this cosmetic exercise, which simply gives the illusion that the ‘fake-regulator’ is doing something positively different. That’s just not true. Indeed, it has long been accepted that the previous version of the Code covered gender identity. When “sex” was changed to “gender, ten years ago the Code Committee proudly announced that Gender Identity would be covered.
“I think IPSO quickly loses credibility - even with the little it has remaining - when relaunching previous decisions and dress up current practice. This is a dismal effort.”
Ms Brothers, earlier this year endorsed a representative complaint by Trans Media Watch concerning pejorative and prejudicial language in connection with her gender identity and disability in Rod Liddle’s Colum which appeared in The Sun on 11 December 2014. Whilst widely considered as a landmark decision because of it’s representative nature, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) failed to get the newspaper to comply with the conditions for publishing the adjudication with due prominence, as well as not addressing victimisation experienced by MS Brothers in a subsequent piece by Rod Liddle in The Sun. Ms Brothers further commented:
“Establishing and revising the Editor’s Code and responding to individual complaints are in the power of Editors themselves, with three lay bystanders. This reinforces for me that, IPSO is a long way off being independent and falls far short of the criteria set by the Recognition Panel set up as Leveson recommended.
“I’m shocked by the continued lack of transparency. As the revision on gender identity and others on suicide and public interest have emerged from secret meetings of the Editors Code of Practice Committee, which is a sub group of the Regulatory Funding Company (RFC), another secretive body which controls IPSO’s rules and resources. That can only be designed to protect vested interests.
“I’m seriously concerned about the RFC and IPSO’s wholly inadequate public engagement to improve the Editor’s Code. A limited consultation in 2013 apparently collected 200 responses, which unsurprisingly haven’t been published and not clearly linked to the latest announcement - so much for transparency.”

Notes to Editors
1. Emily Brothers is a capital-wide Candidate for the Greater London Assembly Election to be held in May 2016. She was Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam at the 2015 General Election.
2. The summary revised Editors Mini Code to take affect from 1 January 2016 is here:

http://editorscode.org.uk/mini-code/
3. Emily Brothers called for major reform of press regulation in February 2015 in a speech to The Cambridge Union: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/02/12/emily-brothers-calls-for-stronger-press

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