The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has ruled in favour of The Guardian newspaper over its unedited use of the word 'nigger'.
The ruling came after filmmaker Nia Reynolds complained to the newspaper censor over the Guardian's policy to write the
term in its entirety when it is within a quote. Reynolds called on the newspaper to review its style guide and abandon the use of what she called the inflammatory, offensive and demeaning word .
The commission acknowledged Reynolds' concern
that, in repeating a racist term without the use of an asterix for example, the newspaper could potentially be in breach of the Editor's Code of Practice, which states:
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, responsible for the self-regulation of the press, concluded that publications were free
to make style decisions, providing that they didn't breach terms of the code.
In the case of The Guardian, the commission said it was satisfied that the use of the term in the articles was not a pejorative reference, but an accurate report of
comments made by others. The newspaper was entitled to reproduce these comments in the context of news stories, the PCC decided, in informing readers as to what had been said and allowing them to form their own opinions.
There is a blatant
contradiction about having the mitigation of N-word and then proceeding to use that hateful word without editing, responded campaigner Reynolds, a writer who has previously written for The Guardian. Reynolds has said she plans to continue lobbying
against the policy and suggested that the paper was intentionally trying to be provocative .