It was not only irrelevant for the Daily Mail Australia to highlight that a woman is transgender, the Australian Press Council concluded, the revelation may have also led to “substantial prejudice against transgender people.”
The Daily Mail Australia‘s May 21 online news story was headlined, “EXCLUSIVE: Transgender sister, 31, of football star is charged with manslaughter over the death of her boyfriend, 51, after ‘domestic violence’ incident at a house in Sydney’s south.” The story reported on the manslaughter charges (which were later dropped) against the woman, identified her, her brother and where the boyfriend’s death happened.
The Daily Mail Australia defended its coverage, saying the woman identifies herself as transgender on public social media accounts. However, the council said it didn’t matter because it was “not relevant to the alleged criminal acts reported to identify the woman as being transgender,” especially since she was already identified by name and photo.
“The Council considers that as being transgender was not relevant to the alleged criminality, prominently identifying the woman as transgender in the headline and again in the article could contribute to substantial prejudice towards transgender people,” the press council said. Further, while the article itself was factual and balanced, the emphasis on the woman being transgender was problematic.
“Given the woman’s transgender status was not relevant to the alleged criminality, identifying her as such in the headline and again in the article could lead some readers to conclude that this characteristic was either the cause of, or a factor in, the alleged crime and could contribute to substantial prejudice against transgender people,” the council ruled. “The Council considers that in prominently identifying the woman as transgender the publication failed to take reasonable steps to avoid contributing to substantial prejudice and that there was no sufficient public interest justifying doing so.”
iMediaEthics has written to the Daily Mail for its response to the ruling.