Thursday, 12 August 2010

'Best endeavours'

The Sun, responsible for the infamous 'Bonkers Bruno' front page headline several years ago, has got in trouble again for its coverage of mental health issues.

From the PCC website:

Various individuals and organisations (including Rethink and Shift) complained that the newspaper had used the word 'Schizo' in reference to a patient suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. The complainants said this was a pejorative and discriminatory description of the patient's mental illness.

Surely a breach of Clause 12 of the Editor's Code of Conduct? It says:

12. Discrimination
i) 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.

But the PCC haven't ruled against the Sun. Oh no. Instead, they've got this less-than-cast-iron assurance:

The matter was resolved when the newspaper agreed that it would use its best endeavours not to use the term 'schizo' in the future.

No doubt the paper is terrified of what the PCC will do if they use the term again in the future.

Incidentally, searching the Sun's website for articles containing 'schizo' finds 14 results, dating back three years.


  1. The Press Not Sorry team wishes The Sun all the best in it's endeavour, and whilst we know it will be a long, hard struggle, we have faith that they can achieve their goal.

    It would be better if the PCC actually had teeth, though, and The sun apologised and meant it...

  2. The coverage of mental illness is pretty shocking in all media sadly, not just the tabloids. The constant printing of misinformation, the way that any mental illness is played up in violent incidents and violence involving mental illness being more widely reported due to making for a more interesting story has led to widespread public misconceptions, often leading to people with usually harmless conditions being prejudged as dangerous.

  3. This is one of those 'laugh or cry' moments. So well done to your good self and press not sorry for making it the former!


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