Two of the latest headlines are below, both are from the last couple of days, so it makes you wonder whether anyone actually reads and e-mails or tweets sent to the Mirror.
A message for the Daily Mirror - Please don't call this crime "Child Porn" or "Child Pornography". These images are of children being either sexually exploited, raped, or sexually abused for the gratification of paedophiles. Children cannot consent, they cannot do "porn", and the only people who would refer to them as "porn" are the paedophiles themselves. Would a victim of this crime describe themselves as taking part in a porn shoot - would they describe themselves as a "child porn star"? Nope. If you were to view such images, would you automatically think "porn"? Nope. Would you deliberately use paedo terms in your newspaper? Hopefully not. So why do you continue to use this offensive and trivialising term? Please don't call it this, the correct legal term is "indecent images of children" (IIOC), although Child Abuse Images is just as good.
Of course, although this is the more common headline used in not only the Mirror, but far too many newspapers, it isn't the only misleading and offensive term that has been seen in the Mirror recently. Here are a few more:
Note to Mirror - What exactly is "Child Sex"? What exactly is an "underage sex party"? As with "child porn", children cannot and do not consent to being raped and abused by adults. Why not call this by the more accurate term, namely "RAPE". Which according to Wiki is "a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent". Rape rape rape.....it really is quite easy to remember.
The two girls in question being 10 and 12. A completely inaccurate and trivialising headline that would not look out of place in some sleazy magazine. Note to Mirror - A four in a bed romp? Underage girls? What utter nonsense. What does the word "romp" imply to you? To me, the words imply a mutually consenting, although illicit, steamy sex session between more than 2 people. Not two adults being caught in a bed with two children. Yes, children, not "underage girls" (technically correct, but the words underage girls indicate a year or two under the age of consent, not children).
There's that "child sex" again. Also, describing a child who has been prostituted out as a "Child Prostitute". Note to Mirror - Calling someone a "prostitute" implies a willingness and consent by the individual. The correct term, and the one that describes this crime properly is a "Prostituted child", which takes away the implied consent and focus's the actions to the adults procuring these children (instead of "prostituting", being "prostituted out").
A "Fling"? As in a "Casual sexual relationship"? Relationship as in "mutually consenting"? Really? a 14 year old? Note to Mirror - A fourteen year old cannot consent to any sort of sexual activity, there is no "relationship", just a one-sided abuse of trust and sexual abuse, pure and simple, nothing more, nothing less. For two abults, yes, a "fling", for an adult and a child, no.
Google the daily Mirror, and you see "Mirror Online: The Intelligent Tabloid"
If you have not read the e-mail I sent to you a few days ago regarding language in the media, please take note of the points raised above. Prove that you are really "The Intelligent Tabloid", and start taking care in your headlines and reporting. There are more important things than trying to sell papers using sleazy inaccurate headlines and styles of reporting - not offending people and trivialising serious crimes should take a higher precedent than this.
Do the right thing - amend your style guide that you use to encompass the above.
“Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes.” - Desmond Tutu.