PCC unlikely to rule against Mail after Littlejohn's Little Britain parody prompts mini Twitter storm

Twitter watchers will have noted yesterday the mini storm cooked-up over Daily Mail writer Richard Littlejohn’s Little Britain-inspired parody of the actions of disabled student fees protester Jody McIntyre.

As with the Jan Moir article about Stephen Gately’s death last year, Twitter users have encouraged each other to complain to the PCC – with a few minor celebs chipping in to egg people on.

So far the furore is on a much smaller scale, with 500 complaints to the PCC (as reported by The Guardian) versus 25,000 with the Moir piece.

If the PCC does decide to investigate I suspect the outcome will be the same. With Moir the watchdog said that it wasn’t its job to rule on matters of taste and offence.

It’s difficult to see how the Littlejohn piece wouldn’t fall into the same category.

Clause 12 of the Editors’ Code states:

“The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.”

But the issue of McIntyre being in a wheelchair is central to the reason he is in the news and to the point Littlejohn was making – that in his opinion McIntyre shouldn’t have been at the front of the protest (McIntyre has complained that he was manhandled by police).

It all goes to underline the point Mail Online publisher Marin Clarke made at the Society of Editors conference last year about the huge importance of social media to his website’s booming traffic figures.

I’m sure Twitter will have sent a huge amount of traffic to that Littlejohn story yesterday.

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