Tuesday, May 24

Freedom of expression means the freedom to offend



She also accused the Sun of hypocrisy over free speech. I was contacted privately by individuals who work at the Sun and at News UK to say that they were embarrassed and that they were ashamed that Kelvin MacKenzie was allowed to peddle such hatred, she said.

“But they had to do it in private, because while the Sun talks about freedom of speech I don’t think it would be very happy to extend that privilege to its journalists who might want to publicly criticise its position in this scandal.

In a civilised society, we accept that freedom of speech has limits and you cannot just use your powerful platform to publicly attack someone and effectively incite hatred against them and smear them as a terrorist sympathiser, which is what Kelvin MacKenzie did.

I do wear the headscarf as a symbol of my religious faith and it in no way affects my reporting.

In its ruling, Ipso said: “The article did not include a prejudicial or pejorative reference to the complainant on the grounds of religion.

The article did refer to the complainant but it did so to explain what triggered the discussion about a legitimate subject of debate: whether newsreaders should be allowed to wear religious symbols.

In the committee’s view, the columnist was permitted to identify what prompted his discussion, rather than merely raising it in the abstract.

“Furthermore, he was entitled to express his view that, in the context of a terrorist act which had been carried out ostensibly in the name of Islam, it was inappropriate for a person wearing Islamic dress to present coverage of the story.”