Monday, 22 December 2014

Something different about one of these MailOnline headlines

There is something different about one of these recent MailOnline headlines. Can you spot the odd one out?

Can you spot which headline is framed differently to the others?

Links:
Top Left, Top Right, Bottom Left, Bottom Right

The bottom right story was published on 12th December 2014 and with the headline "GUILTY: First picture of Muslim pensioner, 80, who arranged for acid to be thrown in his 20-year-old Islamic convert ex-girlfriend's face"

BFTF notes that under the new The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) code of conduct there can be found the following clause:
Clause 12 Discrimination Part ii) Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.
BFTF also notes that the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, Birmingham Mail, ITV, The Independent and Sky News all managed to cover the story without headlines that gratuitously referred to the Rafiq's faith.

Another point worth making is that the MailOnline is one of the worlds largest online news sites, and this specfic story has been shared (at the time of writing) some 4,900 times. The number of views can reasonably be expected to be several orders of magnitude greater than that.

So, what to do:

i) Complained to IPSO www.ipso.co.uk/IPSO/makeacomplaint.html:
"The article breaches Clause 12, ii) of the Code of Practice "Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story" because it mentions the faith of the criminal and victim when neither are genuinely relevant to the story. I note that, unlike the MailOnline, reporting of the story by the BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Birmingham Mail, ITV and SkyNews has all (correctly and reasonably) managed avoid mentioning the faith of the criminal or the victim in the headline."

ii) BFTF also noticed that the story was supported by advertising from :

Lemsip


Channel 5


Mercedes


Ambi-Pur


So sent each of these companies an email like this:
I'm afraid I'm very disappointed to see that advertising from Mercedes-Benz is supporting inflammatory and demonising articles in the MailOnline (example attached, link at end of this email).

Essentially, you are paying for the Daily Mail to publish this kind of material, which has a deep and adverse adverse effect on community cohesion. In fact, I believe that the article breaks the IPSO code and have complained to IPSO on that basis.

I am sure that Mercedes-Benz does not want its advertising to support this kind of divisive article so I hope you can contact MailOnline, and your advertising company, and let them know how you feel.

If you feel able to do this, it would be great if you could let me know, as this would restore my faith in your company.


IPSO response
IPSO responded saying they did not accept BFTF had a valid complaint :

"IPSO is able to consider complaints from an individual who has been personally and directly affected by the alleged breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice; complaints from a representative group affected by an alleged breach where there is a substantial public interest; and complaints from third parties about accuracy. In the case of third party complaints, we will need to consider the position of the party most closely involved.

In this instance, the concerns you have raised relate directly to Mohammed Rafiq and Vikki Horsman, the subjects of the article. It would therefore appear that we are unable to consider your concerns further.

However, if you believe that you fall within one of the above categories of complainants, I would be grateful if you could respond to this email, briefly explaining why you believe we are able to consider your concerns further. We will then be happy to make a further assessment about whether we are able to proceed."

BFTF notes the phrase "a representative group affected by an alleged breach where there is a substantial public interest". Given how hard it is to get Muslim orgs to respond on anything, this is almost an insurmountable hurdle - as the people who drafted the wording were no doubt fully aware. It is also a hurdle that is not present in the procedures for any other regulator.

Mercedes Benz response
Mercedes responded by saying :

"When Mercedes-Benz purchases advertising space, it is done prior to the allocation of the journalistic content. In this Mercedes-Benz has no control, nor can we dictate to the media as to what articles we approve to be advertised along side. The editors at the newspaper in question decide this.

I would like to assure you that neither the location nor the content of the articles surrounding any Mercedes-Benz advertisement is a reflection of the views or the values of Mercedes-Benz. However, I have referred your comments on to the appropriate parties within our company for their consideration."

To which BFTF bounced back :

"Thank you for getting back to me. However I believe your response fails to address the issue in a number of ways.

Mercedes-Benz money paid for that advertising and financially supported that article. Indeed, the more often that article is shared and viewed, the "better" your advertising will have performed.

And I believe you are wrong when you state that "nor can we dictate to the media as to what articles we approve to be advertised." - you absolutely have the right to dictate EXACTLY what kind of articles your advertising is or is not placed against. And indeed to withdraw your advertising from MailOnline entirely.

Essentially Mercedes Benz is telling me that they don't care what articles their advertising pays for.

If that is your view, then yes, I certainly am questioning your advertising integrity.

If that isn't your view then could you please advise what steps Mercedes-Benz will take to ensure that their advertising is not placed against such articles in the future."

Also challenged advertisers with Tweets like this :



For reference, links to many media regulatory bodies can be found at the Media Standards Trust

Links
Jubel Miah is no "devout Muslim"
The "Strict Muslim"

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