A reply from Press Complaints Commission

Dear Mr and Ms Barlow

Many thanks for your email.

Under the terms of Clause 12 (i) (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, “The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.” The concerns you are raising are slightly different, because of course the headline is not intended to suggest that Andrew Lansley is profoundly deaf; it is not a reference to any “physical disability”, to use the terms of Clause 12, of Mr Lansley’s. Rather, the issue is the use of the phrase “deaf and dumb” itself, in any context.

I appreciate why you object to it, but in the first instance I would like to suggest that it may be best to write to the editor of the Daily Mirror, Richard Wallace, to express these concerns directly, as it strikes me that it would be difficult to frame an appropriate formal complaint under the terms of the Code. If it would be helpful, we would be happy to pass on such a letter to ensure that it does not get lost.

Yours sincerely

Simon Yip
Complaints Coordinator

Press Complaints Commission
Halton House
20/23 Holborn
London EC1N 2JD

Tel: 020 7831 0022
Website: www.pcc.org.uk

The PCC is an independent body which administers the system of self-regulation for the press. We do this primarily by dealing with complaints, framed within the terms of the Editors’ Code of Practice, about the editorial content of newspapers and magazines (and their websites). We keep industry standards high by training journalists and editors, and work proactively behind the scenes to prevent harassment and media intrusion. We can also provide pre-publication advice to journalists and the public.
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Press Complaints Commission, Halton House, 20-23 Holborn, London EC1N 2JD