Friday, 30 October 2009

the new lepers

One in 10 inmates is sex offender (BBC News, Monday, 26 October 2009)

Most repressive regimes invent a term to refer to people who stand in the way of whatever the regime wants to achieve. The term is given a strong negative connotation, and subsequently the populace tends to treat those branded with the term as less deserving of life and happiness.

Examples of such terms are "infidel", "unbeliever", "sodomite", "social deviant", "subversive", "Untermensch", "asbo", and lately "sex offender", which is another concoction of New Labour's mass criminalisation programme, making clever use of Britons' innate pathological fear of sex. The term includes those who have been convicted of rape or child molestation. But it also includes a policewoman who moonlighted as a prostitute, a man who gave a woman a lift from the train station to a nearby brothel (so called domesting trafficking; yes, people have been sent to jail for that), a father owning a holiday photo of his 17 year old daughter in a bikini, people who read explicit Japanese comic books or watched videos with "extreme pornography", as well as many dozens of innocent people (innocent in every respect except that of British law) whose credit card information was stolen by paedophiles.

Responsible journalists would not use a crude term like "sex offender" for such a wide spectrum of individuals, many of whom don't deserve to be treated as criminals in the first place. But of course, we are not talking about responsible journalism here, we are talking about BBC News.

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