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Will the Courier-Mail apologize?

The Australian newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., described an Indonesian murdered transgender woman as a “she-male” and a “lady boy.”

The Courier-Mail’s article, “Killed and cooked trans woman was high-class ‘shemale’ sex worker,” reported on the murder of Mayang Prasetyo. Her husband, Marcus Volke, is accused of killing and dismembering her. The police found Volke dead from an apparent suicide. While news reports, including those by the Courier-Mail, claimed that Volke, a chef, cooked Presetyo’s body parts, Australia’s ABC reported that “police have not confirmed reports” about that.

In one print story, the Courier-Mail used the headline, “Monster Chef and the She Male” alongside a big photo of Prasetyo in a bikini. The headline online reads  “Killed and cooked trans woman was high-class sex worker.”

Readers have complained to the Australian Press Council, on social media and through a petition, the UK Independent reported. The press council’s Michael Rose confirmed with iMediaEthics by phone that the council has received complaints and is reviewing them.

The Courier-Mail published an editorial this week in response to the complaints but didn’t apologize, Australia’s Brisbane Times reported.

“Many believe that yesterday we presented Mayang’s story in a way that was disrespectul to her memory,” the newspaper’s editorial read. “The Courier-Mail had no intention of diminishing the value of Mayang’s life, or to add to the grief being felt by her family.”


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The newspaper headlined its editorial “Victim’s memory should be valued.”

The Brisbane Trans Comunity called for the Courier-Mail to apologize, pointing out that the newspaper’s conduct code specifically addresses reporting on sex and gender. The code states:

“Do not make pejorative reference to a person’s race, nationality, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual preferences, age, or physical or mental capacity. No details of a person’s race, nationality, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual preferences, age, or physical or mental incapacity should be included in a report unless they are relevant.”

The Brisbane Trans Community’s petition also agued that the Courier-Mail‘s coverage seemingly was “attempting to justify or trivialise Mayang’s murder on the basis of her transgender status.”

The petition has about 25,000 signatures as of Oct. 8.

iMediaEthics has asked News Corp. Australia if the Courier-Mail will apologize or has any response to the petition.

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Australian newspaper calls murdered transgender woman ‘she-male’ & ‘ladyboy’

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