Good evening, Press Complaints Commission
This is the first time I have taken this further than an odd grumble or rant to close friends and family members – either face to face or on Twitter/Facebook.
Today, in ‘The Mirror’ (see below), you can see another usage of the term “deaf and dumb”. My wife and I are profoundly deaf since birth and we communicate fluently through British Sign Language. Just because we don’t speak in English, we are dismayed to have this negative connotation attached to the likes of us yet again – which only serves to fan the flames of discrimination and victimisation as well as undermine our self determination to be equal member of the society. Even Mr Lansley does not deserve such abuse, as much as we loathe his policies.
However, this term, along with the “fall on deaf ears” terminology, are widely prevalent in the mainstream press. It was only last week that Daily Mail used the wordings of “deaf and dumb” when reporting a young girl being smuggled into UK and used as a sex slave for 10 years in Manchester. This evening, we witnessed an uproar when Richard Pallot described black players as “coloured” on ITV News this evening, which is – in my view – a much less negative term than “Deaf and dumb” but this is not to detract from the seriousness of Mr Pallot’s error.
For the media journalists/editors to use these headlines, it is degrading, demonstrate laziness and ultimately archaic. It should be confined to the Dickensian era.
I would like to make an official complaint about this and I will be encouraging my peers to do likewise. But, first, I will appreciate advice on how to make an effective complaint.
Tony and Genevieve Barlow
Profoundly Deaf and BSL users