The Australian Daily Telegraph misled readers with a column critical of children transitioning gender. The Sept. 2017 column, “What madness can justify mutilating our children?” included a link to a 2018 podcast. The article claimed there is a “pernicious social fad for transgenderism in children which has been embraced by an activist subset of the medical profession.”
iMediaEthics has written to the Telegraph‘s parent company News Corp Australia.
While it was an opinion column and columnists can “question the appropriateness of particular medical treatments and procedures,” the column and podcast featured “material presented as facts,” which was problematic. Claims wrongly presented as a fact include:
- “No evidence that changing sex will reduce the incidence of self-harm or suicide or lessen the impact of other associated mental states such as depression or autism”
- “no evidence that these hormones are safe to be used on kids, no evidence of any reduction in self-harm or suicide”.
The column included descriptions that were potentially offensive or prejudicial but it was in the public interest to have “vigorous public debate about the issue,” the press council ruled. Some offensive comments included calling the procedures “mutilation,” “child surgical abuse” and a “monstrous assault on their developing bodies.”