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Drawing the line on inciting hatred

 

There has been widespread debate this week about coverage of Muslims in the press. Unlike the Editors’ Code of Practice, the new IMPRESS Standards Code protects groups vulnerable to discrimination against reporting which incites hatred.

Jonathan Heawood, CEO of IMPRESS, said: ‘One of the greatest challenges in any democracy is to balance free speech against the rights of groups vulnerable to discrimination and individuals. We heard a wide range of opinions in our consultation on the IMPRESS Standards Code. Clearly, free speech includes the right to offend. However, there is a difference between offensive commentary and incitement to hatred. Like many other professional journalism codes around the world, the IMPRESS Code draws this line.’

The discrimination clause of the IMPRESS Standards code:

4.1. Publishers must not make prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person on the basis of that person’s age, disability, mental health, gender reassignment or identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation or another characteristic that makes that person vulnerable to discrimination.

4.2. Publishers must not refer to a person’s disability, mental health, gender reassignment or identity, pregnancy, race, religion or sexual orientation unless this characteristic is relevant to the story.

4.3. Publishers must not incite hatred against any group on the basis of that group’s age, disability, mental health, gender reassignment or identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation or another characteristic that makes that group vulnerable to discrimination.

 

Read the full code here