Monday, 13 July 2009

PCC: "Schizo" is not offensive

Back in May the Sun had a story about a pregnant woman who was stabbed to death by someone who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

The Sun had a headline "'Sorry' for stabbing by schizo" which led to 43 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission over the use of the term "schizo". There was even a comment to the article which made a simila point:
Whilst I appreciate that this is a news story and that Benjamin Holiday’s mental health condition is relevant to the case to refer to him as a “schizo” does not add to the facts, all it does is turn a mental health condition into a term of abuse.

Mental illness still carries a taboo; language like “schizo” reduces someone to their diagnosis in the most derogatory way using playground-taunts.
According to a Facebook post on by the Rethink mental health charity, the complaints will not be upheld, but it does not say why.

However, they also refer to the fact that in April the same word only led to 7 complaints and so they are not too disheartened.

[via a tip-off from Distillated]


Gwyn said...

It doesn;t give a definitereason, as you say, but they do speculate:

"This is disappointing but not unexpected. We know that the PCC only interprets its clause on discrimination as referring to the individual the article refers to and not to third parties who may be offended by the article in terms of its discriminatory language."

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Spaz should be alright then?