The Scottish Herald published an article arguing,” For pity’s sake, stop it – the appeasement of transphobes and conservative feminists is putting Scotland’s progress at risk.”
That article upset at least one reader who thought it was inaccurate when it claimed that only a “small minority” opposed transgender reform. That reader, Gordon Cowan, argued to the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation that opinion polls found strong opposition to gender recognition laws allowing people to self-identify gender.
However, the Herald defended its comment article, pointing to the Scottish government’s 2018 consultation on its Gender Recognition Act, which found 60% OKed allowing self-identification of gender identity.
The Herald declined to comment to iMediaEthics beyond stating it was pleased with the ruling.
The complainant, Cowan, and the Herald disagreed on the findings of that survey, with Cowan arguing it was “Self-selecting” and not representative of the population, but the Herald stood by the survey with a “high level of responses” instead of the polls which had “comparatively low samples” and in some cases were “conducted by groups opposing reforms,” IPSO reported.
IPSO ruled on the side of the Herald, finding that the government consultation was fair to report on in the column. IPSO wrote:
“The consultation was open to the public and responses could be provided by both advocates and critics of the proposed reforms. More than 15,500 submissions had been received and the Committee noted that the findings of the consultation stated: “the majority of respondents, 60% of those answering the question, agreed with the proposal to introduce a self-declaratory system for legal gender recognition”.
“The Committee acknowledged the results of the opinion polls which had been provided by the complainant, but in circumstances where the article had referenced the government consultation, in which 60% of respondents had supported the introduction of a self-declaratory system, the Committee did not consider that it was significantly misleading for the article to claim that opponents of reform to transgender laws represented a “small minority”.”
iMediaEthics has written to the Herad.