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Thursday, 18 February 2010

Gately complaint: press watchdog says no

It’s hard to accept the decision of the UK’s Press Complaints Commission, I know, when it decided yesterday not to uphold a complaint against a Daily Mail columnist who was critical of the dead Boyzone star Stephen Gately.

You may remember that there were furious complaints after Jan Moir had run her column, following Gately’s death in an apartment he and his partner Andrew Cowles owned in Majorca.

For a complaint to be heard, it has to be lodged by a family member, and one was submitted by Cowles. Bu the PCC has come down in favour of freedom of expression, even though it concedes that there was “flaws” in Moir’s article.

Your humble blogger reluctantly agrees. Reluctantly not because freedom of expression isn’t important, but because we live in an age in which it’s just the done thing to lay into people with seeming impunity in newspaper columns of salacious intent, there just to boost the readership and therefore the profits of the proprietors and shareholders.

Having columns such as Jan Moir’s is the price we sometimes must pay.

But it doesn’t lessen our impression that she’s a bit of a vicious bitch who ought to have been hauled onto the editor’s carpet and given a good dressing down for sheer bad taste – not because one should speak only good of the dead, but because her comments were vicious and unnecessary and calculated to stir up offence.

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