“We are quite clear that Melanie Phillips hasn’t broken the PCC code,” Fraser Nelson is quoted as saying in the Indy.
Let’s take a look at the Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice, shall we? Section 12 of the PCC Code of Practice is entitled ‘Discrimination’ and it says:
“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.”
Now, let us compare what the PCC Code of Practice says about avoiding pejorative references to race with what Melanie Phillips said in her Spectator blogpost:
“…the moral depravity of the Arabs is finding a grotesque echo in the moral bankruptcy and worse of the British and American ‘liberal’ media…To the New York Times, it’s not the Arab massacre of a Jewish family which has jeopardised ‘peace prospects’ — because the Israelis will quite rightly never trust any agreement with such savages — but instead Israeli policy on building more homes, on land to which it is legally and morally entitled, which is responsible instead for making peace elusive. Twisted, and sick.”
So, Melanie Phillips lambasts the ‘moral depravity of the Arabs’ and refers to them as being ‘savages’ and yet the editor of the Spectator seems to believe that this does not contravene the PCC code.
We will have to wait and see if the PCC agrees with Mr Nelson’s evidently very odd interpretation of its Code of Practice. Meanwhile, let us hope that the EHRC and the Metropolitan Police take this matter rather more seriously than Mr Nelson appears to. If a prominent commentator had made similar remarks on a national newspaper website and referred contemptuously to the ‘moral depravity of the Jews’ and described them as being ‘savages’ there is really no question in my mind that they would be condemned – and rightly so – by all their peers and face prosecution for racist hate speech.
Melanie Phillips’ racist outburst about Arabs was sickening and she should not be treated as if she is above the law. It has long been an outrage that the BBC actually allow her to appear as a regular panelist on the Moral Maze as if she was a respected social commentator instead of the racist anti-Arab bigot that she is.